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The Complete Story of the Borderlands (thus far)
Hello everyone. A few years ago I posted a complete summary of the Borderlands games up to Borderlands 3. Today I am back to update the story summary with all of the new events and lore revealed in Borderlands 3. That original post can be found here. If I missed anything or got something wrong, please comment down below so I can amend it. Be warned there are MAJOR SPOILERS ahead for Borderlands, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Borderlands 2, Tales From the Borderlands, Borderlands 3, DLC expansions, and the future of the series. Without further ado, here it is, the complete story of the Borderlands franchise! Lore Long ago, an ancient alien race known as the Eridians inhabited the universe. Originating from the planet of Nekrotafeyo, Their technological advancements far exceed anything the modern universe has been able to create thus far. The Eridians created Guardians, mechanical constructs, to protect their race and caches of technology, riches and weapons, known as Vaults. Powerful women imbued with supernatural powers known as Sirens begin to appear at some point. Only 7 Sirens can exist in the universe at a time, and when one dies, her unique powers are passed to another individual. Of the 7 known Siren Powers, we have seen 5 of them; Phaselock, Phaseshift, Phasewalk, Phasetrance, and Phaseleach. At some point in their history, the Eridians encountered an immensely powerful interdimensional creature called The Destroyer. The Destroyer threatened all of creation, and in a final effort to stop it from destroying the universe, the Eridians sacrificed their race to trap the beast inside The Great Vault, a massive Vault the size of a planet. Nyriad, a Siren, completed the sealing of the Great Vault through use of a Powerful Machine on Nekrotafeyo. Following this, Nyriad, in an effort to prevent her Phaseleach powers from transferring to a new host, locked herself in the Vault on Nekrotafeyo to die. The Phaseleach powers would not be transfered to a new host upon her passing. The Great Vault would later become known as the planet of Pandora, with her moon, Elpis serving as the Great Vault’s key. In an effort to keep the Destroyer dormant, a feeding hole was constructed through which sacrifices would be made every 200 years. A Vault Monster known as The Warrior was left behind on Pandora to protect the Great Vault, and a Vault Monster known as The Sentinel was left on Elpis to hold knowledge of the Great Vault’s purpose. Fast forward millions of years to modern times. Humanity develops faster than light travel and begins to explore the galaxy. A small company known as Atlas encounters an Eridian Vault on the planet of Promethea, and the riches within allow Atlas to become the largest and most powerful corporation in the galaxy. The Corporate Wars, fought between massive corporations over resources began shortly after. Corporations, like Dahl and Atlas, settle new and exotic worlds, one of which is the world of Pandora. Dahl expands it's mining operations to Pandora and her moon, while Atlas extends its rule over Pandora with its elite military unit known as the Crimson Lance. Typhon DeLeon, seeking a life greater than that of his turd farming parents, sets out to find more Vaults following Atlas’ discovery of one on Promethea, gaining notoriety as the first Vault Hunter. During his travels, he meets a woman named Leda, with whom he accidentally discovers the ancestral homeworld of the Eridians, Nekrotafeyo, while making love. The couple would concieve their children within the Vault after opening it and slaying the Vault Monster within. Leda gives birth to conjoined twins, whom Typhon would separate so that they could survive, unbeknownst to the fact that they had absorbed the Phaseleach Siren powers of Nyriad. The twins were named Troy and Tyreen, and would later become known as The Calypso Twins. At some point of their childhood, Leda would be accidentally killed by Tyreen while exercising her Siren powers, resulting in Typhon becoming a stricter father. The twins would later escape from their protective father, fleeing the planet. Pandora is bustling. Research facilities, mining stations and trade posts spring up overnight. A global network known as the ECHOnet is established, linking the planet’s populace. Little did the inhabitants of Pandora know, however, that they had settled during the planet's seven year winter. When the summer rolled around and the local fauna came out of hibernation, a nearly planet-wide exodus occurred. Those who couldn't leave took up shelter. The planet became a lawless frontier nearly overnight, with Dahl abandoning their facilities and letting loose the prisoners they had employed as slave labor. Hector, and his battalion are trapped and left in a mine on Pandora during Dahl’s exodus. Atlas abandons their the top-secret Gortys Project, which hopes to control the mysterious Vault of the Traveler, and locks away various pieces of the project across their facilities all over Pandora. In the year 2873, 2 years before the events of the first game, Patricia Tannis, who was employed by Dahl, had uncovered fragments of a Vault Key, confirming the suspicion that a Vault was present on Pandora. The key was stolen by bandits and spread across Pandora. Speak of the Vault swept across Pandora... Meanwhile, on Elpis, the situation was not much better. Dahl’s military force, led by Colonel Zarpedon denounced their ties to Dahl following Zarpedon’s encounter with the Vault on the moon. The military force became known as the Lost Legion and swore to protect the Vault. Extensive mining efforts by Dahl on the surface led to what is known as "The Crackening". The moon burst, opening great chasms and lava flows. The destruction of their mining facilities and the mutiny commited by Zarpedon forced Dahl to abandon Elpis. They fled the Pandora system shortly after. With the moon under the control of a crazed military legion and Pandora, a lawless frontier, all seemed to be lost for the system, until... Borderlands The year is 2875. Four Vault Hunters; Roland, Mordecai, Brick and Lilith arrive at the small town of Fyrestone. Led by a mysterious ”Angel”, the Vault Hunters slowly begin clearing out local bandit populations until they encounter a bandit boss known as Sledge. Having killed Sledge, the Vault Hunters retrieve an Eridian artifact which is revealed to be part of the Vault Key. At the same time, Commandant Steele, acting Crimson Lance Commander on Pandora declares rule over the planet and demands any Eridian artifacts be turned over to the Crimson Lance. The Vault Hunters travel to the city of New Haven, one of the largest surviving civilizations on the planet and learn about the location of Patricia Tannis. Tannis directs the Vault hunters to the next three pieces of the Vault Key, during which they encounter the Crimson Lance. Upon killing the bandit boss Flint who is believed to have the final Vault Key piece, it is revealed that Tannis had the final piece and was working with the Crimson Lance all along. Steele disables the ECHOnet and the Vault Hunters set out to the Crimson Enclave, a Crimson Lance base, to rescue Tannis. Upon saving Tannis and reactivating the ECHOnet, Tannis sends the Vault Hunters after Steele who is attempting to open the Vault. The Vault Hunters fight through Lance and Guardians alike to reach The Vault just before Steele opens it. Upon opening the Vault, Steele is immediately killed by The Destroyer an ancient alien that was housed inside the Vault. The Vault Hunters kill the beast and return the Key to Tannis, whilst it is revealed that Angel, the guide to the Vault Hunters has been communicating to them through a Hyperion satellite the whole time. Events Leading up to The Pre-Sequel The opening of the first Vault triggered the release of an element called Eridium, which slowly begins popping up all over the planet of Pandora. Detecting the release of the element, the Hyperion corporation begins to move into the Pandoran system. The Vault Hunters are summoned shortly after by an ex-Lance officer known as Athena. Athena assists the Vault Hunters in striking down an already crippled Crimson Lance and their sole surviving general, General Knoxx, driving the Lance off of Pandora for good. Meanwhile, a Hyperion experiment that was intended to rid Pandora of Vault Hunters goes awry when a reprogrammed CL4P-TP unit, better known as a Claptrap unit sparks a revolution among Claptrap robots. Hyperion contacts the Vault Hunters and asks for help in dealing with the problem. The Claptrap revolution is shattered and the Claptrap robots are returned to normal, or at least as normal as Claptrap robots can be. Roughly 2-3 years pass between the events of Borderlands and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel The Pre-Sequel With the Crimson Lance all but defeated, Athena seeks work as a hired gun. She comes across a distress signal put out by a Hyperion engineer by the name of Jack who reveals his position to be aboard a Hyperion space station known as Helios. The station is under attack by Zarpedon’s Lost Legion who hope to halt the progress of construction of the station above Pandora. Athena, as well as mercenaries Wilhelm, Aurelia Hammerlock, Timothy Lawrence (who has undergone facial reconstructive surgery to pose as Handsome Jack's doppelganger), Nisha, and Claptrap travel to Helios to rescue Jack and save the station. The Lost Legion are repelled by the Vault Hunters, and Jack launches the crew to Elpis in search of a jamming signal which is preventing fast travel off of Helios. The crew encounters Janey Springs who helps them get to the city of Concordia, a former spaceport before The Crackening. After dispatching some scavengers, the team enters Concordia, meeting up with Roland, Lilith and Moxxi who assist them in disabling the jamming signal, allowing Jack to fast travel off of Helios. Jack confronts the Meriff, mayor and sheriff on Concordia and kills him. He then formulates a plan to retake the station. The team head to an old Dahl factory and assemble a robot army to retake Helios. This raises concerns among Roland, Lilith and Moxxi, however they go along with Jack. Jack and the team travel to Helios with assistance from their robot army and confront Zarpedon who reveals the location of a Vault before being killed. Elsewhere on Helios, Professor NakayamaA deranged Hyperion scientist begins working on an AI prototype which he hopes he will be able to use to cheat death and upload a patient's consciousness onto a computer. Roland, Lilith and Moxxi turn against Jack, seeing he is going mad with power. They head after the Vault, hoping to claim it before Jack. Jack sends his crew back to Elpis in search of the Vault. The team dispatches Eridian Guardians as they head deep into Elpis, eventually reaching the Vault Elesser, beating Roland, Lilith and Moxxi. They defeat the guardian, The Sentinel, and Jack arrives just in time to claim an artifact inside which gives him visions of a new Vault on Pandora, home to an even greater power. Lilith enters Elesser and smashes the artifact, scarring Jack and pushing him over the edge. Jack adopts the identity of Handsome Jack with a mask covering his scarred face. With the company of Hyperion in his control, he begins seeking out the Vault on Pandora. Events Leading up to Borderlands 2 Jack, learns of a secret weapon hidden away inside of Claptrap, known as the H-Source. Jack sends his crew inside of Claptrap’s mind in order to retrieve it. The team fights throughout Claptrap’s subconscious, learning more about the robot than they could ever care to know, until finally retrieving the H-Source and returning it to Jack. Jack uses the code to destroy all Hyperion Claptrap units. He executes the Claptrap belonging to his crew and dumps him off in Windshear Waste where he is discovered by Sir Alistair Hammerlock. Athena and Aurelia leave Jack at this time, both disgusted by his actions. Athena settles down with Elpis native Janey Springs. The couple moves to the town of Hollow Point on Pandora shortly after, and much to the chagrin of Janey, Athena continues in her mercenary ways. She almost immediately picks up a contract put out by a man named Felix, who hires her to protect his two adopted daughters. Aurelia disappears, whilst Nisha, Wilhelm and Timothy Lawrence stay by Jack's side. Jack’s takes over the Pandoran mining town of Lynchwood for his girlfriend Nisha. Wilhelm, Nisha and Jack attack the city of New Haven, prompting Roland, Mordecai, Lilith and Brick to defend the citizens while they evacuate. Jack kills Brick's dog, while Wilhelm nearly kills the Vault Hunters, driving them away. Wilhelm and Jack then board a train commandeered by Helena Pierce, leader of New Haven and execute her as well as the city's residents. This loss of New Haven and his dog prompts Brick to split from the original Vault Hunters. Mordecai isolates himself, while Roland and Lilith begin assembling an army of ex Crimson Lance soldiers under the banner of the Crimson Raiders to protect Pandora. They face initial resistance from Jack and are slowly pressed back to their headquarters in the city of Sanctuary. Jack, utilizing Eridium to power his weaponry and having declared himself dictator of Pandora, begins sending out messages drawing new Vault Hunters to the planet in search of the Vault. Jack systematically kills off all new Vault Hunters that arrive on the planet. Roughly 2-3 years pass between the events of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and Borderlands 2. Borderlands 2 A Vault Hunter team comprised of Axton, Maya, Salvador, Zero, Gaige and Kreig survive a train bombing and crash in Windshear Waste in the year 2880. They encounter Claptrap who leads them to Alistair Hammerlock in the small town of Liar’s Berg. All the while, Angel directs them and pledges to help defeat Jack. Hammerlock sends the Vault Hunters after clearing out local bandits, which opens the way for the Vault Hunters to travel to the city of Sanctuary. At Sanctuary, the Vault Hunters are informed that the Crimson Raider’s leader, Roland, has been captured by a bandit known as the Firehawk. The Vault Hunters confront The Firehawk, who turns out to be Lilith whose elemental Siren powers have been enhanced by the release of Eridium across the planet. Lilith sends them after another bandit tribe who has Roland, and upon freeing him, learn of a plan Roland has to defeat Jack. The Vault Hunters attempt to recapture the Vault Key from a Hyperion train with the help of Mordecai and Tiny Tina, however they find Wilhelm, Jack’s enforcer instead. He is narrowly dispatched by the Vault Hunters, and a power core is retrieved off of him that Angel insists can be used to shield Sanctuary from Helios’s barrage of fire. The Vault Hunters return the core to the city, and upon plugging it in, the core drops Sanctuary’s shield. Helios opens fire on the city, prompting Lilith to teleport the city away. With the city crippled, Angel begs to be forgiven, telling the Vault Hunters that Jack is using her to charge the Vault Key to open the Vault and release The Warrior, an ancient alien that will serve whoever releases it. Angel tells the team that if Jack opens the Vault he will destroy Pandora. Angel reveals where she is being held, in a Hyperion facility and urges the Vault Hunters to free her. The team, led by Roland, Mordecai and Lilith gather what they will need to assault the compound, recruiting Brick along the way. The team assault the Hyperion base and encounter Angel, who is revealed to be Jack’s Siren daughter. She tells the Vault Hunters to kill her to stop the key from being charged, and when they do, Jack kills Roland and captures Lilith in order to use her to finish charging the key. Following Angel’s death, her Siren powers are transferred to Tannis, who keeps her anointment of Siren powers a secret from the rest of the Crimson Raiders. With Roland dead and Lilith captured, Mordecai and Brick lead the assault through the Eridium Blight to the Vault. The Vault Hunters arrive at the Vault just after Jack opens it and releases the Warrior. The Vault Hunters kill the Warrior and Jack and free Lilith. Lilith, wanting to destroy the Vault Key accidentally activates a map showing the locations of more Vaults all across the universe. Events leading up to Tales from the Borderlands The Vault Hunters split up, some traveling off planet to find new Vaults, others staying on Pandora, taking up mercenary work. During a game hunt with Sir Hammerlock, the Vault Hunters encounter Professor Nakayama holed up in a crashed Hyperion ship. Nakayama falls down a flight of stairs and dies. His body is recovered by traveler and collector Shade after the ship is looted by the Vault Hunters. With Jack dead, a power vacuum is created on Helios. A Hyperion executive known as Saul Henderson takes control of the company, but he is murdered shortly after by Hugo Vasquez, who regains control of the company. At some point, Timothy Lawrence, as well as all of the other Handsome Jack doppelgangers are instructed to travel to The Handsome Jackpot, a massive casino space station, where they are trapped, facing the threat of being blown up by a injected bomb. It is unknown how many years pass between the events of Borderlands 2 and Tales from the Borderlands. Tales From The Borderlands NOTE: Not all events in Tales From the Borderlands are canon. While the overarching story is canon, certain events, such as characters that died or survived or minor details may differ from playthrough to playthrough. Gearbox has not confirmed which events from the game are canon, or if certain characters died or are still alive. In the city of Hollow Point, three con-artists, Felix and his two adopted daughters, Fiona and Sasha, set up a con involving a fake Vault Key. Fiona delivers the fake Key, built by Felix, to Sasha and her boyfriend August. At the same time, a cybernetic enhanced Hyperion middle manager by the name of Rhys, seeking a promotion from Henderson, is shocked to find him dead, launched out of an airlock by Vasquez. Vasquez demotes Rhys to Assistant-Vice Janitor but not before letting a potential deal with a Vault Key slip. Rhys, angered by Vasquez, recruits his friends Vaughn and Yvette to interrupt the deal and get the Vault Key. They travel to Pandora where the face bandits in the town of Prosperity Junction. Yvette sends down a Loader Bot to help them. The Loader Bot flies away, dispatching the last of the bandits upon Rhys's order. Rhys and Vaughn enter The World of Curiosities where they find the taxidermied body of Professor Nakayama. Rhys recovers a data chip off of the body before they meet Shade, who introduces them to August and Sasha, the owners of the Vault Key. The deal goes awry when Bossanova, a dub-step loving bandit boss, and Zero, crash into the World of Curiosities in the heat of battle. The fake Vault Key is smashed and Bossanova takes the money and escapes, followed by Zero. Amidst the confusion, Rhys and Vaughn try to hijack Felix's caravan. The two are taken prisoner by Fiona, Sasha and Felix. Hoping to prevent being tossed out of the caravan, they reveal they can track the money. The two sides form a temporary alliance. Rhys, hoping to find the money, plugs the recovered data drive into his head and collapses, while Vaughn successfully tracks the money to an abandoned Atlas warehouse. Rhys comes to and they form a plan to recover the money from Bossanova who offers it to whomever wins his death race. Zero crashes the party and kills Bossanova, and just as the crew are about to get the money, it is captured by Felix who betrays Fiona and Sasha. Depending on your choices during the game, Felix will be blown up by the rigged case, or will toss it and escape. Either way, the money is destroyed. The group begins searching the arena for something of value. Rhys stumbles into a cellar which contains rare Atlas treasure. Fiona and Rhys each obtain a mysterious artifact that, when joined together, displays a map to a Vault. A construct of Handsome Jack appears to Rhys, threatening to kill him. Rhys, obviously startled, tells Jack that he is dead and is merely a hologram. They infer that Jack's consciousness was aboard the data drive he took from Nakayama. Meanwhile, Fiona, Sasha and Vaughn uncover the location of a secret Atlas facility which they hope will lead them to the Vault. The team meets back up with Loader Bot, and travel to Hollow Point for repairs to the caravan. They are shot at by the moonshots on Helios, and Rhys and Vaughn are separated from Fiona and Sasha. Rhys and Vaughn travel across the desert until they encounter Vasquez, furious at Rhys for the blown Vault Key deal. Rhys and Vaughn escape thanks to help from Jack and Loader Bot. Fiona and Sasha arrive at Hollow Point, and with the help from Scooter, repair the caravan. The sisters are attacked by two goons whilst looking through their old home; Kroger and Finch. They escape from Kroger and Finch and run into Athena, whom they also narrowly escape from. The sisters are reunited with Rhys, Vaughn and Loader Bot, and they leave for the abandoned town of Old Haven, where the Atlas facility is located. They discover an Atlas facility hidden underneath the town, but are ambushed by Vasquez and August. Rhys and Fiona take their artifacts and join them with a machine deep in the facility, all whilst Vaughn and Sasha are held at gunpoint. The machine connects the artifacts and releases an object known as Gortys, a large sphere. Rhys triggers the facilities security system, deploying drones. They meet up with Vaughn and Sasha amidst a firefight between August's goons and the facility's security drones, and manage to escape. Outside of the facility, the team run into a bandit boss by the name of Vallory who orchestrated the Vault Key deal. August and Vasquez emerge from the facility and are interrogated by Vallory, who kills Vasquez and demands that Fiona and Rhys hand over Gortys. Vallory attempts to execute Fiona before she is stopped by Athena, who scares off Vallory, her son August and their goons. Rhys activates Gortys, and she reveals that she can locate and control the Vault of the Traveler, but needs a few upgrades first. Athena joins the crew as they set off for Gortys' first upgrade. Along the way, Jack, who has been berating Rhys since revealing himself, and Rhys form a hasty alliance, although Rhys never fully trusts Jack. The team arrives at an Atlas biodome situated far out in the tundra. They encounter an Atlas scientist named Cassius who reveals where the upgrade they are seeking is located. The team splits up, with Vaughn, Loader Bot and Gortys staying behind with Cassius, while Rhys and Sasha seek out the Atlas Security Station, and Fionna and Athena go after the upgrade. Fionna and Athena recover the upgrade and are attacked by Vallory upon meeting back up with everyone. The group is separated once again across the facility. Rhys meets up with Sasha and Loader Bot and they attempt to rescue Gortys who is being pursued by August. Fionna, elsewhere, finds Athena fighting Brick and Mordecai, however they are both incapacitated. Vallory gathers the prisoners and tells them that they are working for her now to try and recoup her losses from the failed Vault Key deal. Athena is hauled off by Brick and Mordecai, who Vallory reveals were hired to remove her from the picture. Gortys reveals that her last upgrade is on Helios station in Jack's old office. Back in Sanctuary, Athena recounts the events of the presequel to Lilith while being interrogated. Lilith orders her execution, but Athena is saved when a mysterious Guardian known as The Watcher tells Lilith that there is a war coming, and that they are going to need all the Vault Hunters they can get. Lilith, having already sent Gaige and Axton to Epitah in search of new Vaults, contacts them and tells them to spare the life of Aurelia, whom they found on the planet. Fionna, Sasha, Loader Bot, Gortys, and August travel to Hollow Point to seek help from Scooter and Janey. Meanwhile, Rhys, Kroger and Finch travel back to Old Haven to recover the face of Vasquez, which Rhys says will let him digistruct a disguise to get them into the station. Vaughn is left at the biodome with Cassius. They return to Hollow point, and the team, along with Scooter, launch to Helios. Along the way, the rocket sucks up the corpse of Henderson, which requires immediate attention. Fionna and Scooter go outside to detach the rockets, but Scooter is caught and sacrifices himself to keep the mission going. The team arrives on Helios, and Rhys, disguised as Vasquez, encounters a furious Yvette. Rhys knocks her out, out of fear of compromising the mission, while Fionna and Gortys attempt to infiltrate A Hyperion tour to gain access to Handsome Jack's office. When that plan goes awry, Jack reveals to Rhys that there is a hidden trapdoor into his office. Rhys, Fionna and Gortys meet up below Jack's office, where Rhys enters the office and retrieves the upgrade. Here, Rhys claims the deed to the Atlas corporation, which Jack has been holding onto since destroying the company. Jack convinces Rhys to sit in his chair, and either traps him and uploads himself into Helios's computer, or convinces Rhys to upload Jack of his own volition. EIther way, Jack now has control of Helios station, and tells Rhys that he is going to graft an endoskeleton into him so he’ll have a new body to control, however Rhys escapes. Rhys encounters Yvette, who he explains to that Jack has control of the station. Yvette joins them as her and Rhys head for the reactor core while Fionna and Gortys are ordered to evacuate back to the shuttle. Fionna and Gortys encounter August who leads them back to the shuttle, where they are betrayed by Finch and Kroger, who take Sasha, Gortys and her final upgrade. Rhys and Yvette enter the reactor core, where Jack tries to stop them, however they successfully shut down the core, triggering a meltdown. The entire station is evacuated, and Loader Bot sacrifices himself to launch Yvette and Rhys's escape pods. Fionna escapes at this time, as does August. With Helios falling out of the sky, the scattered crew lands in what appears to be the Eridium Blight. Rhys makes his way to Jack's shattered office, where Jack manages to jump back into Rhys. Rhys's mechanical arm is skewered on a piece of metal, and he rips it off, as well as digging his cybernetics out of his head, despite Jack's pleading. Rhys tears out his echo-eye, and either destroys the device or holds onto it. Either way, Jack is no longer a threat to Rhys or the crew. Elsewhere, Fionna emerges from her escape pod, and begins searching for her sister. A fleeing bandit informs her that Vallory upgraded Gortys and that the Vault was opened. Fionna picks her way across the wreckage, finding Vallory shooting a rocket launcher off into the distance. She attempts to confront Vallory, but is stopped by Finch who says that her sister put up a fight. Fionna kills Finch and confronts Vallory, who says that they need to destroy Gortys (now a gigantic robot) because she is keeping the Vault monster on Pandora. Vallory is smashed and Fionna rushes over to the launcher and aims it at Gortys. Sasha appears and helps her, and the two destroy the beacon atop Gortys, which releases the Traveler.. With Gortys seemingly destroyed and their adventure over, Fionna and Sasha return to their old ways in Hollow Point, while Rhys travels back to Cassius's facility and is outfitted with new cybernetics. Fiona and Rhys receive ECHO beacons roughly a year later, which leads them to the town of Prosperity Junction, where the whole adventure started. They are both kidnapped by a mysterious Stranger, who demands they retell their entire story, from the Vault Key deal to the opening of the Vault. They both tell their stories as they travel back toward the wreckage of Helios, where the Stranger turns them over to Kroger, in exchange for a captured bandit. Kroger threatens to kill Fiona, but is strangled to death by the Stranger. The bandit reveals himself to be Vaughn, who has adopted the leadership of the surviving Hyperion employees. Vaughn leads Rhys and Fiona back to his home on Helios with the Stranger in tow, while explaining how Cassius helped him escape from the Atlas biodome following Vallory's ambush. Vaughn made his way to the wreck of Helios and began organizing the survivors. Back at Helios, Rhys, Fiona and Vaughn interrogate the Stranger, who reveals himself to be Loader Bot. Loader Bot explains that he survived the crash of Helios and witnessed Fiona and Sasha destroy Gortys. Betrayed, he transferred himself into Jack's exoskeleton and formulated a plan to rebuild Gortys. He captured Rhys and Fiona to better understand what happened, but with the air cleared, Loader Bot revealed his plan. He scavenged up Gortys's parts and hopes to reactivate her, this time with proper assistance from Rhys and Fiona this time. Vaughn shares a plan to defeat The Traveler, a massive Vault monster that has teleportation abilities. He tasks Fiona and Sasha with detonating a bomb inside the monster to cripple it, while Gortys will fight the monster into position in front of Helios's moonshot cannon. Fiona recruits a team of people to help. Gortys is reassembled and the Vault of the Traveler appears. Gortys is adamant about fighting The Traveler again, however Rhys reassures her that this time will be different. The team forces The Traveler to teleport, at which point Fiona and Sasha jump the caravan into it with a bomb. Inside of the monster, Fiona plants the bomb, however as they make their escape, the detonator fails to work. Sasha sacrifices herself to detonate the bomb while Fiona escapes. The bomb is detonated and Gortys wrestles The Traveler in front of the moonshot, where The Traveler is blasted apart. The team finds Sasha dead, but she is resuscitated by one of Felix's gadgets. While the team begins scavenging loot, Fiona and Rhys head toward the Vault, reminiscing about their adventure and Rhys's attraction to Sasha. They enter the Vault and head up a staircase leading to a chest. They open it together and disappear as they Vault teleports them away. Events leading up to Borderlands 3 It is unknown what happens to Rhys, Fiona, Sasha, Vaughn, and the other Tales characters at this time. What we do know is that whatever Rhys found inside the Vault allowed him to rebuild the Atlas corporation with help of Zero. Vaughn stays on Pandora with his clan of bandits within the remains of Helios. Colonel Hector and his Dahl Battalion escape the mine they were trapped in at some point after it was discovered by Cassius, and upon finding out Pandora is a desolate wasteland, become hellbent on creating the paradise the Dahl Corporation promised them long ago. The New Pandora military clear Vaughn’s bandit gang out of the remains of Helios and attack the Crimson Raiders’ base of Sanctuary with a toxic gas which leads to rapid growth of plant life, created by Cassius. Lilith and the Crimson Raiders are forced to flee Sanctuary, and come across Vaughn in a bandit outpost known as The Backburner. They team up to stop Hector. The Raiders come across Cassius at the site of the collapsed mine where Hector and the New Pandoran army were trapped, and upon learning that the gas is being used for evil, Cassius agrees to help make an antidote. Hector floods the facility with gas, infecting Cassius who must be killed so that the Raiders can make an antidote. Cassius’ blood is harvested and an antidote is created. The Raiders assault Sanctuary, now overgrown with plants. Hector has ingested the gas, mutating him into a monster who consumes the Vault Key and Sanctuary. Lilith has no choice but to destroy the floating city, killing Hector and scattering the Vault Key somewhere in the Pandoran desert. Now without a base, Ellie, sister of Scooter, is tasked with building a new base of operations for the Raiders, the Sanctuary III spaceship (don’t ask what happened to Sanctuary II) Pandora experiences a period of (relative) peace, with the corporations gone and Hector’s New Pandoran army defeated. The Crimson Raiders mostly dissolve, with the Vault Hunters going their separate ways. Maya retires to the ancestral Siren world of Athenas to train a girl who will become a new Siren, Ava, Gaige becomes a wedding planner, Kreig secludes himself in a cave to mend his mind and conflicting personalities, and Axton and Salvador become game show hosts. The Calypso Twins begin spreading their gospel about the Great Vault over the ECHOnet, gaining a large following. They find that the bandits and psychos of Pandora are especially susceptible to their propaganda, and the various bandit clans of the planet begin to unite under them, becoming known as The Children of the Vault. The sheer number of bandits and psychos following the Twins alarms Lilith, who begins to reunite the Crimson Raiders to fight back. 7 years pass between the events of Borderlands 2 and Borderlands 3. Borderlands 3 It is the year 2887. Lilith sends out a distress call for new Vault Hunters, attracting FL4K, Moze, Zane and Amara, a Siren, to Pandora, where they help Lilith assault a Children of the Vault base. Lilith tasks them with finding the Pandoran Vault Key that was lost following the destruction of Sanctuary. The team encounters Vaughn, who helps them recover the Key, which directs them to the ecumenopolis of Promethea. Before they can board Sanctuary III however, Lilith’s Siren powers are leached by Tyreen in an ambush. The Children of the Vault take off to Promethea, where they believe the Great Vault is located. The Crimson Raiders follow them to Promethea where they find the planet under siege by the Maliwan Corporation, led by Katagawa Jr.. The Raiders make contact with Rhys, now CEO of the reformed Atlas, who requests their help breaking the Siege. The Raiders travel down to the surface and successfully hold off Maliwan forces, which have allied themselves with the Children of the Vault. Rhys directs the Raiders to Athenas, where part of the Promethean Vault Key is under protection of Maya and the Sages. The Crimson Raiders travel to Athenas and repel the Maliwan assault there, claiming a piece of the Promethean Vault Key and recruiting Maya and Ava. The Raiders rejoin the fight on Promethea and manage to recover the other pieces of the Vault Key after killing Katagawa Jr. They travel to the Promethean Vault, believing it to be the Great Vault that the Twins are seeking. Inside the Vault however, they find a Vault Monster, The Rampager, and not the Great Vault. Tyreen and Troy arrive at the Vault after the Vault Hunters kill the beast, and Tyreen leaches the Rampager’s energy, revealing their plan to absorb the powers of Vault Monsters. Maya is killed while attempting to save Ava from the Calypso Twins. The Crimson Raiders regroup on Sanctuary III. Tannis suggests that the Raiders slay the Vault Monsters before Tyreen can leach their energy. The Crimson Raiders travel to the swamp planet of Eden-6, headquarters of the Jakobs corporation. There, they meet Wainwright Jakobs, heir to the Jakobs corporation. He informs the Vault Hunters that Alistair Hammerlock, his lover, has been captured by his sister, Aurelia, who has claimed the Jakobs corporation with help of the Children of the Vault. The Vault Hunters rescue Alistair, acquire the pieces of the Eden-6 Vault Key, and confront Aurelia in Jakob’s Manor, killing her. They open the Vault hidden beneath the manor, and kill The Graveward before Tyreen can leach the monster’s power. Infuriated, she takes Tannis captive. The Raiders pursue the Twins back to Pandora, where they rescue Tannis from bandit bosses, Pain and Terror. It is here that Tannis reveals her Siren powers to the Raiders. Troy begins the process of opening the Great Vault, activating its Vault Key, the moon of Elpis, which begins to tear Pandora apart. The Raiders assault the Children of the Vault headquarters, and kill Troy who is leaching his power from Tyreen. Upon killing him, Troy’s Siren powers, which were in turn stolen from Maya, are passed onto Ava. Tyreen escapes before the Vault Hunters are able to kill her. The Vault Hunters are shortly contacted by Typhon DeLeon, who summons them to Nekrotafeyo. When the Vault Hunters meet the first Vault Hunter, he explains to them that Pandora is the Great Vault, and that if Tyreen wakes the Destroyer, she will be able to leach its powers and become the most powerful Siren in existence. He points the Vault Hunters to the Machine, the massive engine that sealed the Destroyer away in Pandora long ago. With the Pandoran, Promethean, Eden-6 and Nekrotafeyo Vault Keys, the Machine can be reactivated and the Destroyer can be sealed away once again. Before the Machine can be activated however, Tyreen teleports onto the planet, disabling it and mortally wounding her father, Typhon. Typhon tells the Vault Hunters not to be the last of their kind before succumbing to his injuries. The Vault Hunters chase Tyreen back to Pandora just as she leaches the power of the Destroyer, merging with it. The Vault Hunters fight hard and eventually defeat Tyreen the Destroyer, which returns Lilith’s Siren powers. Lilith, in an effort to stop the Great Vault from being opened and destroying Pandora, sacrifices herself, flying up to Elpis and branding the moon with the firehawk symbol. Pandora, and the universe is saved. Events leading up to Borderlands 4(?) Following the battle, the Moxxi and the Vault Hunters travel to the Handsome Jackpot where they find Timothy Lawrence. After Hyperion collapsed, the station fell into chaos. Jack’s former court jester, Pretty Boy has gained control of the station, and is seeking Timothy’s “winning hand” access, which would allow him to take control of the Loaderbot factory deep within the station’s bowels. The Vault Hunters defeat Pretty Boy, and Moxxi agrees to go on a date with Timothy Lawrence. Elsewhere, on the frozen world of Xylourgos Wainwright and Hammerlock prepare their wedding, planned by Gaige. It is briefly interrupted by a fanatic cult worshipping the still beating heart of a long dead Vault Monster, but it is nothing the Vault Hunters cannot deal with. Tannis, in an effort to study the minds of psychos, begins examining Kreig’s broken mind, and helps him come to terms with what's happened to him and Maya’s death, bringing him back into the fold. THE END So far... I believe this is the most comprehensive story of the Borderlands Series so far. If I missed anything or got anything wrong, please correct me in the comments! Thanks for reading everyone!
Jan/3/2021 news: __ Top-10 anti corruption charges of 2020 __ POW & search __ Russian aid __ Refugees return __ Protecting the church __ Artsakh's international recognition __ Oil & gas news __ Chess & soccer events __ Guinness World Record __ Importing more Iranian products __ Syunik borders __
Your 7-minute Sunday report in 1743 words.
10 notable anti-corruption cases in 2020
10) SIS concluded the investigation of former president Serj Sargsyan's alleged embezzlement of ֏500 million in agricultural subsidies in 2013. Serj appeared in court as a defendant in February. The case continues. 9) ex-HHK MP and ex-Soccer Federation Chief Ruben Hayrapetyan (oligarch Nemets Rubo) was charged with large-scale embezzlement. In February, he was charged with embezzling $1.5 million-worth lands belonging to the Soccer Federation. (he was earlier implicated in the case about organizing the kidnapping, extortion, and torturing of a man who allegedly stole from his restaurant) 8) ex-Yerevan Mayor and Transport Minister HHK Gagik Beglaryan was charged with embezzling ֏230 million in state property. He was also interrogated as part of a ֏23 billion embezzlement in the North-South highway construction project. His brother is implicated in a ֏85 million embezzlement case. 7) ex-Culture Minister Hasmik Poghosyan (wanted) and ex Israel Ambassador Armen Smbatyan (paid a bail) are charged with using an offshore scheme to embezzle the state property. 6) Serj Sargsyan's brother Alexander was a defendant in the case of the 14 stolen paintings by Martiros Saryan. Pashinyan announced that Alexander's $30 million bank account was frozen. Alexander agreed to return the funds to state coffers. $26 million was recovered. $7.5 million was recovered as part of Martiros Saryan's painting case. Another $19 million was recovered -- or as he says, "donated" -- for the army modernization. 5) Powerful Churchman Archbishop Kchoyan (Bentley guy) was charged as part of an investigation of the forceful appropriation of another businessman's property by using an offshore firm, which was run by several individuals, including the churchman and allegedly the former Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan. More on that here. 4) Felony case was launched over the purchase of $42 million in weapons that turned out to be dysfunctional. Pashinyan mentioned this on several occasions, blaming the former regime for "wasting resources instead of developing the army." More recently, Pashinyan criticized General Movses "Mosi" Hakobyan, saying the waste took place under his administration. 3) Serj Sargsyan's chief bodyguard Vachagan Ghazaryan and his alleged accomplices had their felony tax-evasion charges dropped after compensating ֏3 billion ($6.3 million) to state coffers. 2) Serj's son-in-law Mikael Minasyan (Povar Ishik) was charged by IRS in March after the "revelation of an unprecedented level of corruption in modern Armenian history". Minasyan is accused of illegal enrichment. The investigation continues. Minasyan is residing in Russia, which won't extradite him due to close connections. Details on Mishik's case here, here, here, here (laptop recovered with 9000 files), here, here, here, here, maybe here, definitely here, here, here, 1) BHK leader Gagik Tsarukyan was charged with organizing an election fraud during 2017 and financial crimes by his casino Shangri La. The investigation began in late 2019 after a construction firm, with ties to Tsarukyan, paid a bribe to a Yerevan official in an unrelated incident. Tsarukyan likely learned about the pending charges against him and launched a major opposition campaign against Pashinyan, to then frame his charges as "political persecution" for being critical to the government. https://www.civilnet.am/news/2021/01/03/2020-ի-10-քրեական-գործերը/414983 https://www.evnreport.com/politics/the-political-rise-and-fall-of-tycoon-gagik-tsarukyan
Armenia will import 2250 types of products from Iran instead of Turkey, amid the 6-month ban on Turkish product imports. "This will be a good opportunity for Iranian producers. In the next step, [Armenia] will supply its required raw materials from Iran," said the chief of the Iranian trade agency. The govt had earlier met Chinese representatives to discuss the replacement of other Turkish items with Chinese ones. https://en.mehrnews.com/news/167965/Armenia-to-import-2-250-goods-from-Iran-instead-of-Turkey
border "demarcation" process continues in Syunik
The process to install Armenian and Azeri troops continues on the new borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan, in the Syunik province. The border was formerly Syunik (Armenia) - Qashatag (formerly Artsakh). Syunik's Shurnukh and Vorotan were built on the immediate internationally-recognized border, and some of them were on the Azeri side. As a result, a dozen buildings will go under Azeri control. Shurnukh village mayor complained about losing several houses and Azeris being too close. Syunik governor said border guards have been installed in areas surrounding Shurnukh. Russian and Armenian guards are placed in certain parts of this 21 km border. https://factor.am/325886.html
European Court for Human Rights has approved a petition by Armenia to implement emergency measures to require Azerbaijan to share information about the conditions of 23 POWs. "So far, such petitions were approved for 80 POWs, 18 of whom have already returned home," said Armenia's representative in Court. Armenia's HR Ombudsman Tatoyan criticized Aliyev for calling Armenian POW soldiers "terrorists" and for keeping them arrested, which delays the swap process. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039433.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039480.html
New Years Eve memorial concert in Yerablur Pantheon:
... in the Fizuli region that went under Azeri control during the war. Azeri prosecutors launched an investigation. In turns out, some Azeri civilians visit these areas without allowing the sappers to clear the areas from landmines first. So far, 10 Azeris have died or received injuries from such explosions after the ceasefire. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039473.html
They built the second rapid-deployment modular mini-town in Getavan, after finishing one in Stepanakert earlier. Another one will be built in Berdashen this month. The blocs will house 300 peacekeepers. They will have access to various convenience shops. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039452.html
Russian humanitarian aid in Artsakh
Russia sent 5,000 m2 glass for window replacement, 70 tons of metal parts, 34000 bedding items, to Martuni and Martakert cities. Earlier they sent 20 mobile electricity generators to help the areas that were cut off from the main electric grid. Russian doctors have so far treated 1044 Artsakh residents with various complaints. There are medical teams that travel in rural areas to provide care, including mental health services. The doctors received New Year's gifts from the medical administrator Oleg Bagayev. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039453.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039463.html
Ara Ghazaryan from Los Angeles built the world's smallest chess and made it into the Guinness World Records book. It's 8x8 millimeter. "Ara Ghazaryan is an Armenian American artist who uses jewelry to express his art and formerly held this record title. The chess board itself is made from 18 k yellow and white gold with Armenian apricot wood and rests on a frame made of platinum, 18 k yellow gold, rubies, and diamonds. The figures measure in height from 1 mm for the pawns to 2.4 mm for the kings." Photo: https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/78603-smallest-handmade-chess-set https://factor.am/325695.html
The All Armenia Fund has transported 600 Artsakh children and their parents, residing in various provinces of Armenia, to watch performances in Yerevan's Tumanyan Puppet theater. Santa, Dzyunanush, and the Elves surprised the children with gifts in the end. The Foundation will help thousands of children by the end of January. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1039451.html
The Fall were a group from Manchester founded by the enigmatic Mark E. Smith in 1976, after seeing the Sex Pistols at the Lesser Free Trade Hall. The group would go on to influence many bands over it's 40+ years of existence, such as Pavement and LCD Soundsystem. (Click link for write up on band)
The Fall was founded by one Mark E. Smith back in 1976, after seeing the Sex Pistols at the Lesser Free Trade Hall (The same gig attended by Ian Curtis and Peter Hook of Joy Division, Morrissey of the Smiths, and Tony Wilson, who founded the highly influential indie label Factory Records. Basically, Mark was at one of the more important gigs of the past 50 years, as this gig inspired all of those previously mentioned to either start bands or get involved in the punk scene, and changing the course of British indie music.). Over their 40+ years of operation, the band had Mark E. Smith at its helm as the sole constant member throughout it's existence. The band would become known for its classic assortment of records, with the tight musicianship by members such as guitarist Craig Scanlon and drummer Karl Burns (shown in the beginning of this clip from MTV's Cutting Edge) and Mark's esoteric lyricism, the witty, while often-times volatile and difficult, personality of Mark E. Smith, and the constant changing lineup of its members as a result of Mark's volatility. They would also remain to be the favorite band of legendary DJ John Peel, with the band holding the record of the most Peel sessions by a band, which is 24 sessions. The Fall would ultimately come to an end with the untimely death of Mark E. Smith in 2018 due to kidney and lung cancer. The Fall are a significant band in the history of Post Punk, with a wide catalog of music to listen to released throughout the different eras of the band. I have decided to make a write-up going through the many eras of the Fall, while giving some recommendations from each era to start you off. (1976 - early 1979 - Early Beginnings: The Martin Bramah Era) during these years, the Fall were just getting their start with their sound. Their early material leans more towards the punk side of the sword rather than the post punk of their later years, but the embryo of the Fall's sound is clearly present. This can possibly be attributed to the guitar style of Martin Bramah in their early releases, which has a high pitched and trebly sound to the guitars. Their first recorded released came on a live album on the last day of operation for the Electric Circus, then they released their debut EP Bingo Master's Breakout then a single called It's The New Thing all in 1978. They finally released their debut album Live at the Witch Trials in March 1979 before Martin Bramah left in April 1979 due to increasing tensions with Mark E. Smith. He would then go on to found a band by the name of Blue Orchids with another former Fall member Una Baines, who he was dating at the time. Martin would prove to not be the only member to leave because of Mark's controlling demeanor in the band's future. Here's some tracks to introduce you to this era's punky edge: Last Orders Bingo Master's Breakout EP (The entire EP's good to check out) It's The New Thing Rebellious Jukebox Futures and Pasts Mother-Sister (mid 1979 - 1982 - The First Golden era: the Marc Riley Era) I'm calling this the Marc Riley era because, even though Marc Riley was a part of the Bramah era, after Martin Bramah left, Riley would become the main guitarist instead of his previous role as bassist. This would open the door for members like Craig Scanlon to join on rhythm guitar and Steve Hanley on bass. This would end up transforming the sound of the band into the post-punk sound most people are familiar with the band. After releasing Rowche Rumble and the album Dragnet in 1979, the band would end up releasing a string of classic singles in 1980, such as Fiery Jack, How I Wrote Elastic Man, and probably their most well-known song, Totally Wired, as well as releasing the great album Grotesque (After the Gramme). 1981 would also prove to be a good year, with the release of the single Lie Dream of a Casino Soul and the 10-inch EP Slates. The band would end up travelling to Iceland for a string of gigs, which would lead to the recording of some songs for probably their best album Hex Enduction Hour, with tracks like Hip Priest and The Classical displaying the Fall's power in full force. The band would also released the album Room To Live and the single Look, Know. However, this year would prove to be the last with Marc Riley on lead guitar. After learning of their chart success in New Zealand (which was about 300 copies sold to get in the top 20), the band travelled there to play a few gigs in Australia and New Zealand. While there, increasing tensions between Smith and Riley came to a head in Australia when Riley punched Smith in the face for slapping the band for dancing to the Clash (yes, really). There is even a television interview where Mark's black eye is visible (even with heavy makeup). This tour would end up being released as a live album by the legendary New Zealand label Flying Nun Records as the album Fall in a Hole in 1983 (Which Smith would eventually threaten legal action for and forced Flying Nun to pay all of the revenue from the record, effectively almost killing Flying Nun in its infancy). Marc would end up being sacked by the end of the year. This left a hole to be filled for the lead guitar role, and that would be filled after a trip to America. Here's some tracks to check out to introduce you to the classic Fall sound: Rowche Rumble How I Wrote Elastic Man Totally Wired New Face in Hell Prole Art Threat Lie Dream of a Casino Soul Hip Priest The Classical (N-Word Warning) Iceland Winter Marquis Cha-Cha (1983 - 1989 - The Second Golden era: The Brix Smith Era) The band would soldier on without Marc Riley into 1983, with Craig Scanlon taking his place on lead guitar. This period would lead to the release of singles like The Man Whose Head Expanded and the Kicker Conspiracy EP. During the Fall's first American tour without Marc Riley, Mark E Smith was introduced to Brix Smith after a gig in Chicago in April. Within three months, Brix would move to England and end up marrying Mark. She would eventually join the band in September of that year and would first appear on their album Perverted by Language, albeit with minimal involvement and only appearing on one track. Her introduction to the band would end up bringing a pop sensibility to the band, as she would eventually become a major songwriting contributor along with Mark and she would try and push the Fall into a more commercially viable direction. This period would lead to some of the band's most critically acclaimed,as well as their most commerically successful, material. early singles like C.R.E.E.P and Oh! Brother in 1984 display the early shift into the pop sphere for the band. The band would also release the album The Wonderful and Frightening World Of in 1984. By 1985, the band were starting to hit their stride in the commercial sphere, with singles like Cruiser's Creek and Couldn't Get Ahead appearing in the singles charts and the great album This Nation's Saving Grace receiving critical acclaim and decent sales. The band would continue to release increasingly pop-oriented records between 1986-1987, with singles like Mr. Pharmacist, Hit the North and Hey! Luciani reaching the lower ends of the charts, There's a Ghost In My House giving the band their highest singles chart peak, and the album Bend Sinister reaching the Top 40. However, 1988 would prove to be a banner year for the band, with the album The Frenz Experiment reaching the top 20, and the single of the Kinks song Victoria also reaching the top 40. However, this era would eventually come to an end in 1989, when Mark E Smith and Brix Smith ended up divorcing and Brix left the band. Her last record in this era would prove to be the album I am Kurious Oranj, a collaboration with the Michael Clark dance group. However, the trajectory that Brix set the band upon would let their success continue into the 90s, With the band eventually reaching their peak in commercial popularity. However, not all good things are meant to last. Here's some songs to check out to introduce you to this era's pop-leaning sound: The Man Whose Head Expanded Kicker Conspiracy Eat Y'self Fitter C.R.E.E.P 2 X 4 Cruiser's Creek No Bulbs Spoilt Victorian Child My New House I am Damo Suzuki Shoulder Pads #1 Mr. Pharmacist Hey! Luciani There's a Ghost in my House Hit The North Victoria Big New Prinz Dead Beat Descendant (1990 - 1994 - The Peak, followed by the Fall: The Major Label years) After Brix left the band, Martin Bramah was brought back into the fold to fill in her place, and would be featured on the album Extricate, which led to songs like Telephone Thing, which shows influence from the Madchester scene of that time period, which included the Stone Roses and the Happy Mondays, and the love song Bill is Dead, which possibly reflects upon his divorce the previous year. However, Martin Bramah would not be staying for long, as he would end up being kicked out of the band that same year for having a relationship with the keyboardist. This album marked the period when the band would be featured on a major label, with the band being signed to Fontana. The Fall would continue on to have success during this period, with the aforementioned Extricate reaching the top 40, albums like Shift-Work and Code: Selfish reaching the top 30, and singles like White Lightning and Free Range reaching in the single charts, with Free Range being the bands last top 40 single. Their commercial peak would come with the album The Infotainment Scan, which contained a cover of Lost in Music by Sister Sledge, giving the Fall their first and only top 10 hit album. Mark would also be featured on a top 20 single, which was I Want You by the Inspiral Carpets. However, Mark E. Smith's speed and alcohol addiction, which persisted over the previous decade, started to take its toll. The bands fortunes started to dwindle with the album Middle Class Revolt, Which only reach number 48 in the charts, a far cry from their previous Top 10 success. With this album, the Fall would begin to go downhill, both in their commercial performance and their critical stature. Here's some songs to check out from this banner period for the Fall: Telephone Thing I'm Frank Bill is Dead Edinburgh Man Free Range Lost in Music Hey! Student 15 Ways (1995-1998 - The Low Point: The Brownies Years) By this point, Mark E. Smith begins to go downhill with the previously mentioned drug and alcohol addiction, and its effect on the music shows. Brix Smith returns around this time period and would come back on the album Cerebral Caustic. Even with her involvement in the band, the album got middling reviews and performed worse than Middle Class Revolt. Smith would also dismiss the long time guitarist Craig Scanlon, who had co-written 120 songs with Smith over the previous 16 years. Smith would later say that he regretted this decision. By the time of The Light User Syndrome, Brix had enough of Mark E. Smith's degrading state and behavior due to alcohol abuse, and would leave on the tour supporting this album. This period would be wrought with increasing tensions in the band and financial troubles, which ultimately came to a head on the US tour supporting the album Levitate at an infamous gig at the New York venue Brownies in April of 1998. Smith ended up appearing drunk at the gig, and did everything in his power to make it hard for the band to play. It came to a head when drummer Karl Burns, who returned to the band when Middle Class Revolt was made, ended up shoving Smith for messing with his drum kit. Burns and long-time/essential bassist Steve Hanley would end up leaving the band and never returning. After this gig, the next few years are marked with the band remaining a low profile for the most part, where would eventually return to form by 2003. Here's some tracks to check out (if you want to) from this era: Don't Call me Darling Rainmaster D.I.Y Meat The Chiselers Powder Keg Masquerade (1998 - 2002 - Touch Sensitive: The Long Lull) During this period of the Fall, the band was just starting to be put back together by Mark after the debacle that was the Brownies gig. The band was able to achieve some form of critical favor with their album The Marshall Suite in 1999, with Touch Sensitive being a particular standout on the album and being featured in a Volkswagen commercial. The band would then release their album The Unutterable, which also started to gain the critic's favor back. The next album Are You Are Missing Winner, however, didn't do the band any favors, as it was recorded when the band was tight on funds. It was considered a misstep by the Fall after the acclaim that the last album received. However, this would ultimately lead to the start of a new era of the fall that would effectively renew their relevance as a band in the public's eye. Here's some tracks to check out from this transitional period of the bands history: Touch Sensitive W.B Sons of Temperance Dr. Bucks Letter Bourgeois Town (2003 - 2009 - A return to grace: The Third Golden Age) This era of the fall proved to be a rebirthing of the band's relevance and quality, with Mark writing some of the best material the band had in years. This era starts with the album The Real New Fall LP (Formerly Country on the Click) in 2003, which provided the band with some late era classics, such as Mountain Energei and Theme From Sparta F.C. Around this period, the DJ John Peel, who was one of the band's biggest supporters from the beginning, died of a heart attack, but not before the Fall could release one more Peel session a couple months before his death. The Fall would then release Fall Heads Roll in 2005, which also provided the band with another late-era classic in the form of Blindness. The band would also release albums like Reformation Post TLC and Imperial Wax Solvent within the same period. Imperial Wax Solvent would end up being the first Fall album in 15 years to reach the top 40. This would lead into the final era of the Fall leading up to Mark E. Smith's untimely death. Here's some tracks to check out from this era: Mountain Energei Theme From Sparta F.C. Blindness Clasp Hands Fall Sound Latchkey Kid Is This New Strange Town (2010 - 2018 - The Witching Hour: The Domino and Cherry Red/final years) In 2010, the Fall would release Your Future Our Clutter on Domino Records, the same label that releases records by the Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand, Two bands heavily influenced by the Fall. Mark E. Smith would also end up recording vocals for Glitter Freeze on the Gorillaz album Plastic Beach, which was released in 2010. The band would eventually move to Cherry Red records, which would remain the label of the band until its dissolution. On Cherry Red, the Fall would release album such as Ersatz GB, Re-Mit, Sub-Lingual Tablet, and New Facts Emerge. The latter album would prove to be the band's last record. Over this period, Mark began to develop significant health problems, and would eventually be diagnosed with terminal lung and kidney cancer. This is probably due to the fact that Mark E. Smith was a heavy smoker for most of his life, and his previous problems with drugs and alcohol didn't help either. Mark would perform his final gig with the Fall in November of 2017, and would eventually succumb to his illnesses on January 24th, 2018. Mark E. Smith would leave behind a long history of innovation, wit, and volatility and large catalog of great music for others to be inspired by. Here's some tracks to check out from the final era of the Fall: Bury Pts. 2 + 4 Nate Will Not Return Loadstones Fibre Book Troll New Facts Emerge (Final Remarks) So that's my write-up for the Fall. I discovered this band about 3-4 years ago and I have fallen in love with them ever since, and I just felt like that they deserved some attention. I wrote this post for anyone who may be interested in checking out the band and giving them a place to start from no matter the era. May Mark E. Smith rest in peace, for he wrote "Northern white crap that talks back" and dug repetition. P.S: For any fans of the fall, what is your favorite album/song by the fall and why? If you want to, you can come check out my subreddit Collectionhauls, where I've been posting vinyl finds I've had at the flea market, and have been posting music to check out since March. If you want, you can come post something from your collections to show to others. Anyway, goodbye and I hope you enjoyed my post and possibly enjoy the Fall even more.
The Fall was founded by one Mark E. Smith back in 1976, after seeing the Sex Pistols at the Lesser Free Trade Hall (The same gig attended by Ian Curtis and Peter Hook of Joy Division, Morrissey of the Smiths, and Tony Wilson, who founded the highly influential indie label Factory Records. Basically, Mark was at one of the more important gigs of the past 50 years, as this gig inspired all of those previously mentioned to either start bands or get involved in the punk scene, and changing the course of British indie music.). Over their 40+ years of operation, the band had Mark E. Smith at its helm as the sole constant member throughout it's existence. The band would become known for its classic assortment of records, with the tight musicianship by members such as guitarist Craig Scanlon and drummer Karl Burns (shown in the beginning of this clip from MTV's Cutting Edge) and Mark's esoteric lyricism, the witty, while often-times volatile and difficult, personality of Mark E. Smith, and the constant changing lineup of its members as a result of Mark's volatility. They would also remain to be the favorite band of legendary DJ John Peel, with the band holding the record of the most Peel sessions by a band, which is 24 sessions. The Fall would ultimately come to an end with the untimely death of Mark E. Smith in 2018 due to kidney and lung cancer. The Fall are a significant band in the history of Post Punk, with a wide catalog of music to listen to released throughout the different eras of the band. I have decided to make a write-up going through the many eras of the Fall, while giving some recommendations from each era to start you off. (1976 - early 1979 - Early Beginnings: The Martin Bramah Era) during these years, the Fall were just getting their start with their sound. Their early material leans more towards the punk side of the sword rather than the post punk of their later years, but the embryo of the Fall's sound is clearly present. This can possibly be attributed to the guitar style of Martin Bramah in their early releases, which has a high pitched and trebly sound to the guitars. Their first recorded released came on a live album on the last day of operation for the Electric Circus, then they released their debut EP Bingo Master's Breakout then a single called It's The New Thing all in 1978. They finally released their debut album Live at the Witch Trials in March 1979 before Martin Bramah left in April 1979 due to increasing tensions with Mark E. Smith. He would then go on to found a band by the name of Blue Orchids with another former Fall member Una Baines, who he was dating at the time. Martin would prove to not be the only member to leave because of Mark's controlling demeanor in the band's future. Here's some tracks to introduce you to this era's punky edge: Last Orders Bingo Master's Breakout EP (The entire EP's good to check out) It's The New Thing Rebellious Jukebox Futures and Pasts Mother-Sister (mid 1979 - 1982 - The First Golden era: the Marc Riley Era) I'm calling this the Marc Riley era because, even though Marc Riley was a part of the Bramah era, after Martin Bramah left, Riley would become the main guitarist instead of his previous role as bassist. This would open the door for members like Craig Scanlon to join on rhythm guitar and Steve Hanley on bass. This would end up transforming the sound of the band into the post-punk sound most people are familiar with the band. After releasing Rowche Rumble and the album Dragnet in 1979, the band would end up releasing a string of classic singles in 1980, such as Fiery Jack, How I Wrote Elastic Man, and probably their most well-known song, Totally Wired, as well as releasing the great album Grotesque (After the Gramme). 1981 would also prove to be a good year, with the release of the single Lie Dream of a Casino Soul and the 10-inch EP Slates. The band would end up travelling to Iceland for a string of gigs, which would lead to the recording of some songs for probably their best album Hex Enduction Hour, with tracks like Hip Priest and The Classical displaying the Fall's power in full force. The band would also released the album Room To Live and the single Look, Know. However, this year would prove to be the last with Marc Riley on lead guitar. After learning of their chart success in New Zealand (which was about 300 copies sold to get in the top 20), the band travelled there to play a few gigs in Australia and New Zealand. While there, increasing tensions between Smith and Riley came to a head in Australia when Riley punched Smith in the face for slapping the band for dancing to the Clash (yes, really). There is even a television interview where Mark's black eye is visible (even with heavy makeup). This tour would end up being released as a live album by the legendary New Zealand label Flying Nun Records as the album Fall in a Hole in 1983 (Which Smith would eventually threaten legal action for and forced Flying Nun to pay all of the revenue from the record, effectively almost killing Flying Nun in its infancy). Marc would end up being sacked by the end of the year. This left a hole to be filled for the lead guitar role, and that would be filled after a trip to America. Here's some tracks to check out to introduce you to the classic Fall sound: Rowche Rumble How I Wrote Elastic Man Totally Wired New Face in Hell Prole Art Threat Lie Dream of a Casino Soul Hip Priest The Classical (N-Word Warning) Iceland Winter Marquis Cha-Cha (1983 - 1989 - The Second Golden era: The Brix Smith Era) The band would soldier on without Marc Riley into 1983, with Craig Scanlon taking his place on lead guitar. This period would lead to the release of singles like The Man Whose Head Expanded and the Kicker Conspiracy EP. During the Fall's first American tour without Marc Riley, Mark E Smith was introduced to Brix Smith after a gig in Chicago in April. Within three months, Brix would move to England and end up marrying Mark. She would eventually join the band in September of that year and would first appear on their album Perverted by Language, albeit with minimal involvement and only appearing on one track. Her introduction to the band would end up bringing a pop sensibility to the band, as she would eventually become a major songwriting contributor along with Mark and she would try and push the Fall into a more commercially viable direction. This period would lead to some of the band's most critically acclaimed,as well as their most commerically successful, material. early singles like C.R.E.E.P and Oh! Brother in 1984 display the early shift into the pop sphere for the band. The band would also release the album The Wonderful and Frightening World Of in 1984. By 1985, the band were starting to hit their stride in the commercial sphere, with singles like Cruiser's Creek and Couldn't Get Ahead appearing in the singles charts and the great album This Nation's Saving Grace receiving critical acclaim and decent sales. The band would continue to release increasingly pop-oriented records between 1986-1987, with singles like Mr. Pharmacist, Hit the North and Hey! Luciani reaching the lower ends of the charts, There's a Ghost In My House giving the band their highest singles chart peak, and the album Bend Sinister reaching the Top 40. However, 1988 would prove to be a banner year for the band, with the album The Frenz Experiment reaching the top 20, and the single of the Kinks song Victoria also reaching the top 40. However, this era would eventually come to an end in 1989, when Mark E Smith and Brix Smith ended up divorcing and Brix left the band. Her last record in this era would prove to be the album I am Kurious Oranj, a collaboration with the Michael Clark dance group. However, the trajectory that Brix set the band upon would let their success continue into the 90s, With the band eventually reaching their peak in commercial popularity. However, not all good things are meant to last. Here's some songs to check out to introduce you to this era's pop-leaning sound: The Man Whose Head Expanded Kicker Conspiracy Eat Y'self Fitter C.R.E.E.P 2 X 4 Cruiser's Creek No Bulbs Spoilt Victorian Child My New House I am Damo Suzuki Shoulder Pads #1 Mr. Pharmacist Hey! Luciani There's a Ghost in my House Hit The North Victoria Big New Prinz Dead Beat Descendant (1990 - 1994 - The Peak, followed by the Fall: The Major Label years) After Brix left the band, Martin Bramah was brought back into the fold to fill in her place, and would be featured on the album Extricate, which led to songs like Telephone Thing, which shows influence from the Madchester scene of that time period, which included the Stone Roses and the Happy Mondays, and the love song Bill is Dead, which possibly reflects upon his divorce the previous year. However, Martin Bramah would not be staying for long, as he would end up being kicked out of the band that same year for having a relationship with the keyboardist. This album marked the period when the band would be featured on a major label, with the band being signed to Fontana. The Fall would continue on to have success during this period, with the aforementioned Extricate reaching the top 40, albums like Shift-Work and Code: Selfish reaching the top 30, and singles like White Lightning and Free Range reaching in the single charts, with Free Range being the bands last top 40 single. Their commercial peak would come with the album The Infotainment Scan, which contained a cover of Lost in Music by Sister Sledge, giving the Fall their first and only top 10 hit album. Mark would also be featured on a top 20 single, which was I Want You by the Inspiral Carpets. However, Mark E. Smith's speed and alcohol addiction, which persisted over the previous decade, started to take its toll. The bands fortunes started to dwindle with the album Middle Class Revolt, Which only reach number 48 in the charts, a far cry from their previous Top 10 success. With this album, the Fall would begin to go downhill, both in their commercial performance and their critical stature. Here's some songs to check out from this banner period for the Fall: Telephone Thing I'm Frank Bill is Dead Edinburgh Man Free Range Lost in Music Hey! Student 15 Ways (1995-1998 - The Low Point: The Brownies Years) By this point, Mark E. Smith begins to go downhill with the previously mentioned drug and alcohol addiction, and its effect on the music shows. Brix Smith returns around this time period and would come back on the album Cerebral Caustic. Even with her involvement in the band, the album got middling reviews and performed worse than Middle Class Revolt. Smith would also dismiss the long time guitarist Craig Scanlon, who had co-written 120 songs with Smith over the previous 16 years. Smith would later say that he regretted this decision. By the time of The Light User Syndrome, Brix had enough of Mark E. Smith's degrading state and behavior due to alcohol abuse, and would leave on the tour supporting this album. This period would be wrought with increasing tensions in the band and financial troubles, which ultimately came to a head on the US tour supporting the album Levitate at an infamous gig at the New York venue Brownies in April of 1998. Smith ended up appearing drunk at the gig, and did everything in his power to make it hard for the band to play. It came to a head when drummer Karl Burns, who returned to the band when Middle Class Revolt was made, ended up shoving Smith for messing with his drum kit. Burns and long-time/essential bassist Steve Hanley would end up leaving the band and never returning. After this gig, the next few years are marked with the band remaining a low profile for the most part, where would eventually return to form by 2003. Here's some tracks to check out (if you want to) from this era: Don't Call me Darling Rainmaster D.I.Y Meat The Chiselers Powder Keg Masquerade (1998 - 2002 - Touch Sensitive: The Long Lull) During this period of the Fall, the band was just starting to be put back together by Mark after the debacle that was the Brownies gig. The band was able to achieve some form of critical favor with their album The Marshall Suite in 1999, with Touch Sensitive being a particular standout on the album and being featured in a Volkswagen commercial. The band would then release their album The Unutterable, which also started to gain the critic's favor back. The next album Are You Are Missing Winner, however, didn't do the band any favors, as it was recorded when the band was tight on funds. It was considered a misstep by the Fall after the acclaim that the last album received. However, this would ultimately lead to the start of a new era of the fall that would effectively renew their relevance as a band in the public's eye. Here's some tracks to check out from this transitional period of the bands history: Touch Sensitive W.B Sons of Temperance Dr. Bucks Letter Bourgeois Town (2003 - 2009 - A return to grace: The Third Golden Age) This era of the fall proved to be a rebirthing of the band's relevance and quality, with Mark writing some of the best material the band had in years. This era starts with the album The Real New Fall LP (Formerly Country on the Click) in 2003, which provided the band with some late era classics, such as Mountain Energei and Theme From Sparta F.C. Around this period, the DJ John Peel, who was one of the band's biggest supporters from the beginning, died of a heart attack, but not before the Fall could release one more Peel session a couple months before his death. The Fall would then release Fall Heads Roll in 2005, which also provided the band with another late-era classic in the form of Blindness. The band would also release albums like Reformation Post TLC and Imperial Wax Solvent within the same period. Imperial Wax Solvent would end up being the first Fall album in 15 years to reach the top 40. This would lead into the final era of the Fall leading up to Mark E. Smith's untimely death. Here's some tracks to check out from this era: Mountain Energei Theme From Sparta F.C. Blindness Clasp Hands Fall Sound Latchkey Kid Is This New Strange Town (2010 - 2018 - The Witching Hour: The Domino and Cherry Red/final years) In 2010, the Fall would release Your Future Our Clutter on Domino Records, the same label that releases records by the Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand, Two bands heavily influenced by the Fall. Mark E. Smith would also end up recording vocals for Glitter Freeze on the Gorillaz album Plastic Beach, which was released in 2010. The band would eventually move to Cherry Red records, which would remain the label of the band until its dissolution. On Cherry Red, the Fall would release album such as Ersatz GB, Re-Mit, Sub-Lingual Tablet, and New Facts Emerge. The latter album would prove to be the band's last record. Over this period, Mark began to develop significant health problems, and would eventually be diagnosed with terminal lung and kidney cancer. This is probably due to the fact that Mark E. Smith was a heavy smoker for most of his life, and his previous problems with drugs and alcohol didn't help either. Mark would perform his final gig with the Fall in November of 2017, and would eventually succumb to his illnesses on January 24th, 2018. Mark E. Smith would leave behind a long history of innovation, wit, and volatility and large catalog of great music for others to be inspired by. Here's some tracks to check out from the final era of the Fall: Bury Pts. 2 + 4 Nate Will Not Return Loadstones Fibre Book Troll New Facts Emerge (Final Remarks) So that's my write-up for the Fall. I discovered this band about 3-4 years ago and I have fallen in love with them ever since, and I just felt like that they deserved some attention. I wrote this post for anyone who may be interested in checking out the band and giving them a place to start from no matter the era. May Mark E. Smith rest in peace, for he wrote "Northern white crap that talks back" and dug repetition. I personally believe that the Fall, while revered in Post-Punk circles and UK indie music, I feel that they are still highly underappreciated in popular music. I feel that they should have been on the same level as the Cure or Joy Division in their cultural significance to music in general. However, what we do have from the Fall is great and I can say that I love them dearly. For any fans of the fall, what is your opinion on the significance of the Fall to popular music? What do you find to be your favorite aspect of the Fall's music?
What would you do if 2020 became a Groundhogs Day loop
Someone else brought up this hypothetical on collapse and figured it was so good needed to be here too. So imagine on new years Eve and the clock strikes midnight and it's now 1/1/2020. How are you reliving this timeloop. Not knowing if it will ever stop repeating unless you do the right thing. How are you living in this timeloop? Here's my story I posted on collapse. Please share yours! Well this is fucked. We're never getting out of this timeloop. Well let's see here. My first year on the timeloop will go something like this: January 1st as I spend the night as I began 2020 quarantined with the flu (or maybe covid who knows) watching the ball drop at midnight I am shocked to see Ryan Secreast wish everyone a Happy 2020. I'm like wtf I'm not that drunk. Checks the time on my phone. 2020 again fuuuuuck another year of listening to the msm bitch about Trump! Ah yeah and covids coming soon better make a TP, N95 mask and hand sanitizer run and buy that bidet I've been wanting now. Oh yeah and stock up on ammo that's gonna be expensive in a few months. Alright now time to buy up Stock in Tesla, Disney, Netflix, Amazon and watch them go to the moon before I sell them around the time people start running out of unemployment then cash out and donate it to people in need. Now that that's taken care of proceed to bet on LSU crushing Clemson in the championship by exact scores. Then fly out to Vegas and party like it's 2019 off my winnings before SHTF. While I'm there might as well put in a bet on a world pandemic happening in 2020 and also that all the casinos in Vegas will close. They'll give me 10,000:1 odds. I'll make an easy 20million off of it come April..... literally betting against Vegas and winning. I'll come back home mid January and while I wait on my big payday I'll put a bet on the Superbowl while I'm at it. Okay so we're up to early February now. Chiefs just won the Superbowl. Got some more funny money in the pocket to play with. Gonna buy an ebike and dress like a Cyberpunk character so I can roam the empty downtown streets in another month when the lockdowns hit and it's a true ghost town. The virus news is starting to go mainstream but no one's really taking it seriously yet. Wuhan is in lockdown. Vegas chuckles slightly worried....hehe. I decide make a bet with a friend $50 that Trump will name it China Flu and call it a democratic hoax. Plan to buy a 100 piece chicken nuggie platter with the winnings and eat them with my dog just cause we can. March hits. The chicken nuggies are all gone. Time to start doomer posting about the lockdowns coming and businesses closing and historic unemployment levels about to come. Nothing I didn't already do. Also start a campaign about the coming explosion in Beirut and hopefully it goes somewhere to prevent that shit from happening. Ok so April rolls around. I'm calling Vegas and they sound like their whole family died in a car wreck when I call to collect my $20 million. Tell them I'm a time traveler from the future and hang up. He'll spend the rest of the year thinking I was. I'll quit my job soon as the check clears and buy an RV and travel the US. I wanna go through Oregon and Cali before they burn. I'll post murals of George Floyd along the route with a BLM sticker on it. Also I'll post Proud Boi posters in every town I visit with a pic of two guys banging. While I'm at it I'll buy up billboard ads in every state that reads "Fish was right". I'll finish my end of the world tour in early May as the lockdowns have ended and settle on nice ranch I bought with my winnings. Start a doomer cult of the most worthy Doomers of collapse. We will make sour bough bread and donate it to the food banks. We'll preach the gospels of the 350k deaths to come this year of Covid and the Presidential Coup. Come June my cult will gain even more followers after the George Floyd events unfold and the months of riots begin. All of the murals I posted of Floyd will have lead them to the doomer cult website I made that was posted at the bottom of every mural. Also Rudy Giuliani will get millions of dick pics and gaping asshole pics sent to his email....his email account will be listed below all of the Proud Boi posters. As for "Fish was right". It will be linked to collapse. The sub gets flooded with new followers. We hit 10million within a week. The mods are so desperate for help they hire Satan to help filter out all the spam. He ends up just sending all the shit posters to hell. The subreddit loses 5 million followers within a month. Satan is just happy to have all the souls. July roles around and it's hot as hell. Satan confirms. Spend the month on the ranch building a giant wooden fish. We're planning the largest doomer gathering that didn't end in mass suicide. We all just do drugs and have orgy's for the month. Of course we keep it safe with 2 covid tests and a week of quarantine before they enter. Everyone shows up with their newly bought camping gear because everyone will become campers now. u/DJdickjob smuggles in the drugs up from Florida. I made him get rid of the heroin crack and meth though. Only the good drugs. The mass gathering was only supposed to last for a month but turns into 3. Summer of love is over. We all sober up mid October just in time to vote. I remember before the election to copyright the term "270" so I don't have to hear this buzzword a million times post election. We all vote for Bernie Sanders. Realized that we forgot he was screwed again and it was actually the dementia dude running for the ruling elite. That dude wins anyways. The Election has been unofficially called for Dementia. The doomer cult disperses to put up posters of Rudy Guliana with black goo running down his face. We put a link below that looks like it's a website to donate to Trump's election fraud battle. All the Trumpers donate. They get scammed. All the money goes to black families that need rent and food assistance during the pandemic. Somehow Gulianis email gets flooded again with dickpicks and assgaping. His email wasn't even included this time. 3 weeks later Gulianis head starts to ooze the black goo. We get more donations because of this. They think it's apart of the prophecy for Trump to win. More money goes to help black families. Over $1billion donated by Trumpers. I guess Black Lives really do matter to them after all. December roles around and Gulianis in a new scandal. Pictures of his gaping ass make it to the front page of cnn. Turns out he ended up emailing a few of the guys back and sending them pictures of his gaping ass with a nazi flag sticking out of it. Trump followers twist it as a sign that he's telling them that the Deep State made the Nazis look bad. That it was all propaganda and that they were actually the good guys. They excuse the gay image as him doing it for the cause and that the thigh highs, nipple clamps and dick cage were symbolic signs of how the deep state has made us weak and submissive. Trumper Q Anons start wearing nazi flags sticking out of their ass in unity to protest against mask wearing. Half of them decide that they like the flags so much that they need bigger flags. Ironically they chose black flags because they're bigger right. Now the Nazi flag Trumpers think that the Black Flag Trumpers are Antifa. They start fighting each other pathetically in the streets until they both Realize that Black Flags do matter and reunite the right. At this point I call it a year and go chill out until Christmas......oh shit I forgot about Nashv.....oh well too late gotta get ready for the last doomer gathering of the year. We're lighting the giant wooden Fish at midnight to see what happens. Will Fish get us out of the loop?
Warning: massive amount of text ahead. I created a mostly functional race route around the world (all loactions like buildings, businesses, landmarks, etc. are REAL locations and could theoretically actually work in the race). I tried to have a good variety in locations and types of challenges, but it's really hard! I find it a lot harder to complain about challenge design after making this. Even though this could technically happen there are probably some safety concerns in going to South Africa and Lesotho and it's probably not possible for the American Amazing Race to film in Cuba, but I decided to do it anyway. If you have any questions or feedback please let me know! RACE #2 Leg 1 (USA - Japan) Leg 2 (Japan - South Korea) Leg 3 (South Korea - India) Leg 4 (India - Oman) Leg 5 (Oman) Leg 6 (Oman - South Africa) Leg 7 (South Africa - Lesotho) Leg 8 (Lesotho - Greece) Leg 9 (Greece) Leg 10 (Greece - North Macedonia) Leg 11 (North Macedonia - Cuba) Leg 12 (Cuba - USA) LEG 1 USA - Japan Start at Cloud Gate, Chicago, Illinois Run to clue at Millenium Monument Clue #1 Make your way to the Gunma region of Japan, and travel to Sarugakyu Onsen. However, to get your tickets to Japan, you must make your way on foot through the busy streets of Chicago to Navy Pier, where flights will be given out according to the order of your arrival. Flights go to Tokyo, and you must make your own travel arrangements from there. Flight 1 (5 teams): Chicago - Los Angeles - Tokyo, arrives 8:00 AM Flight 2 (4 teams): Chicago - Tokyo, arrives 9:30 AM Flight 3 (2 teams): Chicago - San Francisco - Tokyo, arrives 9:45 AM Clue #2 Both team members must go into the hot springs and search it for the partly submerged cluebox to get your next clue. Clue #3 Travel to Sarugakyo Bungy for your next clue. Clue #4 Roadblock: Who’s ready to take a jump? Bungy jump at the largest bungy jump in all of Japan at 62 meters, or over 200 feet! Once you’ve taken your leap of faith, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #5 Travel to Uenokunirokunomiya Haruna Shrine, Takasaki, for your next clue. Clue #6 Create one string of paper cranes in Senbazuru. Senbazuru is the crafting of 1000 paper cranes for good luck. Following the demonstration, learn how to craft paper cranes. Once you have created forty of them and strung them together, deliver them to a Shinto priest at Akiba Shrine. He will give you your next clue. Clue #7 Travel by train to Akihabara, Tokyo, and go to the top of the Tokyo Skytree to receive your next clue. Clue #8 Roadblock: Who can ‘go’ kart? The teammate who did the first roadblock cannot do this one. Travel to Akihabari Street Kart 1 and dress up in one of the many ridiculous costumes the company has to offer. Then, join a fifteen minute go-karting tour around the streets of this bustling region and look for three enormous signs in race colors with three different Japanese characters on them. If you can spot and write all three characters down correctly during the rush of Tokyo, you’ll receive your next clue. If you can’t get it right, you’ll have to join the next available tour. Clue #9 Travel to Horin Park on foot to find the first pit stop! The last team to check in here may be eliminated. Pit Stop, Leg 1 trip to Canada last: eliminated LEG 2 Japan - South Korea Clue #1 Fly to Busan, South Korea! Upon arrival, make your way to Beomeo-sa for your next clue. Fast Forward, Leg 2 Go to Songdo Beach and swim out into the ocean, locating the five whale statues in the water. At each statue, pick up marked letter tiles. Once you have all seven (two statues have two tiles), you can go back to the beach and unscramble the letters that spell out the name of a traditional South Korean delicacy that the other contestants eat at their first challenge. If you get the right word, you’ll be given a clue that takes you straight to the end of the leg. Clue #2 Master the art of Korean meditation. If you can master all of the moves correctly, then your instructor will give over your next clue. Clue #3 Head to Taejongdae for your next clue. Clue #4 Roadblock: Who’s desperate to eat? Take the marked path over one mile uphill to the marked food stand, and finish one serving of Soondae, a traditional South Korean delicacy that is made of pig intestines and pork blood. Once you have finished the food, you can run down to your partner and get your next clue. Clue #5 Take the Songdo Marine Cable Car from Songnim Park to Amnam Park to receive your next clue. Clue #6 Detour: Fish Identity or Fish Delivery Fish Identity: Go to Jagalchi Fish Market and search for the marked stall. Once there, sort an enormous box of fish and organize them. Once the stall owner approves, put them up for stock in the stall to receive your next clue. Fish Delivery: Go to Jacky’s Seafood and take three orders and three addresses that need to be delivered. Once you have delivered all the fish to all the correct addresses throughout the Gamcheon Culture Village, you will receive your next clue. Clue #7 Make your way to the pit-stop at Haedong Yonggungsa. The last team to arrive may be eliminated. Pit-Stop, Leg 2 -first: trip to Belize -last: non-elimination LEG 3 South Korea - India Clue #1 Fly to Hyderabad, India, and go to the Charminar for your first clue. Clue #2 Travel to Ramoji Film City Main Entrance to receive your next clue. Speed Bump, Leg 3 Make your way to Saha’s Adventure Park and zorb down a steep hill. Once you’ve made it, you can continue racing. Clue #3 Detour: Birdy Woods or Bollywood Birdy Woods: Dressing up in clumsy bird costumes, search through Asia’s largest aviary for a cutout of the bird your partner is dressing up as. Once you’ve found the two cutouts, head to the Bonsai Garden. If you match the right bird, you’ll receive your next clue. Bollywood: Head to Ramoji Movie Magic. Dressing up in traditional Indian outfits, memorize a short dance to the tune of some Bollywood music and perform it to the live audience and judges. If you meet their standards, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #4 Head to Nehru Zoological Park where your next clue will be waiting. Clue #5 Take an amazing elephant ride! With both teammates on the elephant’s back guide it through a short course. If you can reach the end in under two minutes, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #6 Make your way to Bidar Fort by public transport for your next clue. Clue #7 Roadblock: Who’s itching to get etching? One team member must help in the process of the creation of bidriware. First, you must chisel one section in the piece of bidriware very precisely. Any error and you must restart. If given the clear, then you must then make their way inside Bidar Fort and collect a total of three baskets of soil for the artisans to use later in the process. Finally, you must use some of the soil you collected and coat a piece of bidriware in it. If every part of the challenge was done to the satisfaction of the artisans, you will receive your next clue. Clue #8 Make your way to the Bahmani Tombs and the pit-stop! The last team to arrive will be eliminated. Pit-Stop, Leg 3 -first: trip to Japan -last: eliminated LEG 4 India - Oman Clue #1 Fly to Muscat, Oman! Once you have arrived, make your way to Al Alam Palace, where you will find marked cars waiting outside. Your clue will be waiting on the car. Clue #2 Drive all the way to the Nizwa Souq in Nizwa, Oman, where you will find nine different tags, each releasing teams at different times the next morning, when you will be given your next clue. Tag 1: departure at 7:00 AM Tag 2: departure at 7:05 AM Tag 3: departure at 7:10 AM Tag 4: departure at 7:15 AM Tag 5: departure at 7:20 AM Tag 6: departure at 7:25 AM Tags 7-9: departure at 7:30 AM Clue #3 Detour: Selling Goats or Weighing Dates Selling Goats: Navigate through the souq to the weekly goat market. You must select a seller and help them sell their goats. First, thoroughly clean five goats so they are ready for selling. Then, parade five goats around the “walking circle,” where potential buyers will inspect which goats to buy. You must finally buy a goat yourself, haggling for a price under 100 riyals, or 260 US dollars. Once you can purchase a goat, you will receive your next clue. Keep the goat for the next challenge. Weighing Dates: Find the marked stall in the souq that is selling dates. Your goal is to weigh out 200 grams of Ajwa Dates, 175 grams of Barhi Dates, and 125 grams of Hayani Dates. To do this, you must travel across the market to a scale at a different date stall. If you can get the perfect amount of dates, you will receive your next clue. Keep the dates for the next challenge. Clue #4 Travel on foot to the Contemporary Mosque with either your goat or dates and trade them with the man waiting out front for your next clue. Clue #5 Make your way back to the souq, and head to Omani Craftsman's House where you will find your next clue. Clue #6 Roadblock: Who can work and weave? The teammate participating in this roadblock must help create a small basketwork bowl. After watching the example, you must use the provided materials to finish off the bowl. If it meets the requirement of the shop owner, you will receive your next clue. Clue #7 Make your way to the pit-stop for this leg of the race, Nizwa Fort! The last team to arrive may be eliminated. Pit-Stop, Leg 4 -first: continue racing -last: continue racing LEG 5 Oman Clue #1 Drive yourself to Bimmah Sinkhole in Muscat, Oman! You will receive your next clue after having a cup of delicious locally-made coffee. Caution! Double U-Turn ahead! Clue #2 Detour: Script Write or Shipwright Script Write: Drive to Bait al Zubair and go into the Manuscript Room. Using a provided paper and translation guide, figure out what the marked manuscript says in English. If anything is wrong when submitting it, though, you must start completely over. Shipwright: Drive to Oman Maritime Boatyard and find the marked boat. Oman Maritime has been reviving the craft of making the traditional wooden boats of Oman’s past, and you must help with the process. First, you must hand-sand a small section of the marked vessel. Then, you and your partner must work together to stitch coconut palm fiber through twenty holes, or eighty total stitches. Once you’re done, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #3 Make your way to Mutrah Souk for your next clue and the U-Turn board! Clue #4 Search through the enormous market for one of three marked stalls. One you’ve found a stall, search through their wares for a trinket with a red/yellow flag on the bottom. Give the correct trinket to the shop owner, and they will hand you your next clue. Clue #5 Drive yourself to Qurum Beach, where you will receive your next clue. Clue #6 Roadblock: Who will pass the shells? For this challenge, one team member must watch the demonstration of two fishermen playing a traditional Omani game, Al Hawalees. You must first create a “board” in the sand and collect the required amount of shells to play. You must then challenge a local fisherman. If you can win while following all of the rules correctly, you will receive your next clue. Clue #7 Make your way to the pit-stop at Wadi Bani Khalid. The last team to check in will be eliminated. Pit-Stop, Leg 5 -first: trip to Tanzania -last: eliminated LEG 6 Oman - South Africa Clue #1 Fly out of Oman to Durban, South Africa, on one of two flights. Flight 1 (2 teams): Muscat - Durban, arrives 7:30 AM Flight 2 (6 teams): Muscat - Dar es Salaam - Durban, arrives 8:00 AM Upon touching down, make your way to Moses Mabhida Stadium, where you will find your next clue. Clue #2 Roadblock: Who will swing for the skies? One team member must strap in and complete the Big Rush Big Swing, the largest swing in the world! Dive 263 feet down. Once you have finished the swing, you will receive a section and seat number. You will search the stands for your next clue. Clue #3 Make your way to Umhlanga Lighthouse for your next clue. Clue #4 Shake it up! In this challenge, you must create Lighthouse Bar’s famous “Umhlanga Schling.” Use the provided recipe to create fifteen drinks to perfection, and you will receive your next clue. Clue #5 Head to Addington Beach and dig underneath one of the large sandcastles for your next clue. Clue #6 Detour: Tree or Sea Tree: For this detour, go to Durban Botanical Gardens. Use a provided golf cart to make your way to the famous Wood’s Cycad, a tree dating back to the age of dinosaurs. It has been cared for here since 1848. Once there, use one of the provided pieces to put together a large 3d puzzle of the tree. Once it has been approved, you will be handed your clue, and you can drive back to the front of the gardens and continue racing. Sea: Go to uShaka Marine World and help out with some chores! First, help the kitchen staff and prepare 5 pounds of specially made vegetables for some of the aquarium’s fish. Second, travel around the park and take water samples from each of the specified exhibits. Finally, record blood test results taken during routine health check-ups. If you’ve completed all of the steps correctly, you will receive your next clue. Clue #7 Head to the pit-stop at Suncoast Casino and Entertainment World! The last team to check in may be eliminated. Pit-Stop, Leg 6 -first: 5k each -last: eliminated LEG 7 South Africa - Lesotho Clue #1 Drive yourself through Qacha’s Nek and into Lesotho! Once in Lesotho, drive yourself to Maletsunyane Falls where you’ll find your next clue. Fast Forward, Leg 7 By completing this fast forward, you will skip an overnight rest point and will be able to head directly to the pit-stop. Head to Sehlabathebe National Park. Once there, using the provided map and compass, ride by horseback to the nomadic tribal people’s current village. At the village, help cook pap-pap, a type of porridge common in Lesotho. The first team to complete the challenge will be able to head directly to the pit-stop. Clue #2 Drive yourself to Seshoeshoe Decor and Fashion Designers in Maseru for your next clue. Clue #3 Who can cut up a pattern? One teammate will choose one of the complicated tribal Lesotho designs, and must find five pieces of fabric that match it perfectly. But be careful, the designs have miniscule differences between them. Once you’ve found all of your fabric, cut them at the directed places to receive your next clue. Clue #4 Make your way to the Subeng River Dinosaur Footprints, where you will find seven tags, each releasing you at a time in the morning when you will receive your next clue. Tags 1-2: departure at 7:00 AM Tag 3: departure at 7:20 AM Tag 4: departure at 7:40 AM Tags 5-7: departure at 8:00 AM Clue #5 Detour: Cave or Maze Cave: For this challenge, go to Liphofung Cave. You must memorize all of the rock paintings in a specified section (15 paintings), and then run approximately a quarter-mile away and select the correct paper cutouts and put them in the right order as they were shown in the cave. When you have everything selected and ordered correctly, you’ll receive your next clue. Maze: Make your way to the second largest dam in Africa, Katse Dam. Enter the first marked gallery and record the air temperature and the humidity. Use those observations to crack a complicated code, and enter the parallel gallery it directs you into. Be careful, it might be hard to find! If you enter the correct gallery, you will find a boat key, which you must give to the boatmaster. He will then give you a small ride around the reservoir and you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #6 Drive yourself to Sani Stone Lodge for your next clue. Clue #7 Help a local Basotho Shephard and their dogs move their sheep to a new grazing location. Don’t let the sheep get away! Once they’ve all been successfully moved, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #8 Make your way on foot to the pit-stop at Sani Top Chalet! The last team to check in may be eliminated! Pit-Stop, Leg 7 -first: trip to Egypt -last: non-elimination LEG 8 Lesotho - Greece Clue #1 Via Maseru International Airport, make your way to Athens, Greece, known to be the home of the first democracy! From there, make your way to the Theatre of Dionysus on The Acropolis, where you will take part in a U-Turn vote. The two teams with the most votes will be sentenced to an automatic U-Turn when they arrive at the detour. After the vote, teams will be given their next clue. Clue #2 Fly to Chania, Greece on the island of Crete! Upon touching down, use the provided cars to make your way to the Agora and search for the marked stall. Speed Bump, Leg 8 Together, team members must eat through a total of twelve Greek figs. Once all of the fruits have been stomached, that team can continue racing. Clue #3 Detour: Traverse or Immerse Traverse: Make your way to the Maritime Museum of Crete, and find the small yacht model outside the museum. Your goal is to remember as much as you can without writing it down, then make a half mile walk through the streets of Crete to the yacht harbor, where you must find a marked yacht and rearrange the items until it is just like it was in the model. Once the actual yacht matches the model, you’ll receive your next clue. Immerse: Travel to Minoan’s World 3D Museum, and get treated to a five minute long “9D movie” on Cretan History which engages all of your senses. If you can answer all five questions correctly, you’ll receive your next clue. However, only two teams can participate in the show at once. Clue #4 Drive to the Palace of Knossos for your next clue. Clue #5 Use the provided map to navigate through the ruins, collecting puzzle pieces at each of the marked rooms. Once you have all ten bundles of pieces, head outside and recreate the large painting using the pieces you collected. Once it has been finished, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #6 Drive to Cretan Olive Oil Farm for your next clue. Clue #7 Roadblock: Who is feeling oily? In this challenge, one teammate will help in the process of creating olive oil. First, set up special tree-shaking equipment and a net, used to efficiently get olives out of the tree without bruising them. You will then sort the olives between bruised and fair. Finally, crush both bruised and fair olives with a traditional granite olive press. Once they have been successfully grinded into a paste, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #8 Find the pit-stop along the coast of the small village of Loutro back on the west side of Crete. You will soon discover, however, that the village is completely blocked off from the mainland by mountains, so you will have to find alternate transportation. Hurry, because the last team to arrive will be eliminated. Pit-Stop, Leg 8 -first: trip to Austria -last: eliminated LEG 9 Greece Clue #1 Fly back to the mainland in Thessaloniki! When you’ve arrived, search Aristotelous Square for your next clue. Clue #2 Detour: Serve or Observe Serve: For this detour head on foot to Bougatsa Giannis, a renowned restaurant in the Ladadika area. You must take the orders of twelve total people and retrieve the correct dishes for them from the kitchen. Each person also has a dessert, which must be retrieved from nearby pastry shop Trigona Elinidi. You may take notes, but if you mess up someone’s order, you must start it over again. Observe: Go by taxi to the Thessaloniki Science Centre Technology Museum and make your way to the main planetarium. The night sky will be projected above, and will be moving around you at one hour of regular movement per second. Using the provided key, identify five Greek constellations first identified by Claudius Ptolemy- Orion, Ursa Major, Cassiopeia, Centaurus, and Perseus. Be careful, it might be dizzying! Once you’ve found all of the constellations, you’ll be rewarded with your next clue. Clue #3 Find the Arch of Galerius for your next clue. Clue #4 Use one of the marked cars to drive yourself for the rest of the leg. Go to the Thessaloniki Concert Hall for your next clue. Clue #5 Roadblock: Who can blow a note and hold a tune? Macedonian brass bands are extremely popular in the Macedonia region of Greece, so for this roadblock, learn how to play the trumpet, a popular instrument played in these bands. If you can play a few notes of the folk song with the band, you’ll get your next clue. Clue #6 Drive to Dalamara Winery. Once there, follow the guide to the directed area, where you must load two empty kegs onto a horse drawn cart. Direct the horse approximately half a mile through the vineyard and return back to the kegs. You will continue to load and deliver a total of eight kegs to receive your next clue. Clue #7 Drive to Ski Center Voras and take the lift to the top where Kajmakcalan, a chapel right on the border between Greece and North Macedonia is situated. The last team to arrive at this pit-stop may be eliminated. Pit-Stop, Leg 9 -first: trip to Colombia -last: eliminated LEG 10 Greece - North Macedonia Clue #1 Drive yourself across the border into North Macedonia to Popova Kula Winery! Once there, pull a tag that departs you at a certain time the next morning. Tag 1: departure at 8:00 AM Tag 2: departure at 8:10 AM Tag 3: departure at 8:20 AM Tags 4-5: departure at 8:30 AM Clue #2 Roadblock: Who is a master chef? The teammate doing this roadblock will use the provided recipe to cook the national dish of North Macedonia, Tavche Gravche, a special type of baked beans. If it is cooked to perfection, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #3 Drive yourself to the Millenium Cross in Skopje for your next clue. Clue #4 Detour: Art Block or Charity Walk Art Block: Drive to the Art Bridge, which is home to 29 statues of important Macedonian artists and musicians. Wandering on and around the bridge are 29 people dressed up as those artists and musicians. You must match nine total people to their statues. A maximum of three teams can complete this challenge. Charity Walk: Drive to the Mother Teresa Memorial House and load a trolley cart with a marked group of items that will almost completely fill the trolley. On foot, travel to the SOS Children’s Village National Office where you are to deliver the items. If you do not choose this option, your items will still be donated after the leg. Clue #5 Drive to the city of Struga, where the North Macedonian national anthem was created. Make your way to the Saint Archangel Michael Cave Church for your next clue. Clue #6 Teammates must work together to memorize four total stanzas of the Macedonian national anthem- in Macedonian. If you can perform it with the orchestra without forgetting the lyrics, you’ll receive your clue to the next pit-stop. Clue #7 Drive to the Monastery of St. Naum and the pit-stop! The last team to check in may be eliminated. Pit-Stop, Leg 10 -first: trip to Indonesia -last: eliminated LEG 11 North Macedonia - Cuba Clue #1 Make your way back to Skopje, then fly to Havana, Cuba, on two predetermined flights. Once there, go by taxi to Taller Calle 8, a car repair shop, where you will receive your next clue. Flight 1 (2 teams): Skopje - Paris - Havana, arrives 6:30 AM Flight 2 (2 teams): Skopje - London - Miami - Havana, arrives 7:10 AM Clue #2 Roadblock: Who can fix it up? The teammate doing this roadblock must follow the example to repair one of the classic Cuban cars. If it makes it past inspection, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #3 For the remainder of the leg, you’ll have to drive the car you just fixed. Head to Fusterlandia, where you’ll find your next clue. Clue #4 Find where the attached image is in person throughout the folk neighborhood of Fusterlandia. If you can find where the image actually is and show the judge, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #5 Sell the Box or Find the Band Sell the Box: Drive to Santa Maria del Mar Beach and sell the provided boxes of boxed rum, the “juice box for bug kids.” While never selling any box for under 25 Cuban Pesos, make 375 Cuban Pesos (around fifteen US dollars). Once you’ve made your sales, you’ll receive your next clue. Find the Band: For this detour, drive to the Cuban Art Factory and observe the large, marked piece of sheet music in the first room. Going from room to room in the factory, try to find the band who is playing the music that was in the first room. You must make your guesses ten minutes apart, so be confident in your answers! Once you have chosen the right band, you’ll be rewarded with your next clue. Clue #6 Drive to Vinales Valley Tobacco Field and search the marked area for your next clue. Clue #7 Perfectly roll ten Cuban cigars, five per contestant. Watch the example closely, as any small mistake in rolling the tobacco leaf will cause the cigar to fail. Once all of the cigars have been perfectly rolled, you’ll receive your next clue. Clue #8 Take a long drive to the eastern side of Cuba and the pit-stop at Ignacio Agramonte Park in Camaguey! The last team to check into the pit-stop will be eliminated. Pit-Stop, Leg 11 -first: trip to Botswana -last: eliminated LEG 12 Cuba - USA Clue #1 For the first part of this leg, you’ll be staying in Cuba! Drive yourself using the car you used in the last leg down Neptuno street in Havana, where you will find a guarapo stall with a flag. Clue #2 Using the hand-press to crush sugarcane, make forty glasses of guarapo. Once all of the glasses have been successfully made, you’ll be handed your next clue. Clue #3 Drive to the Tropicana Night Club for your next clue. Clue #4 Roadblock: Who can make it and shake it? For this challenge, one team member must follow the instructions of the costume designer to create a costume for one of the showgirls. If the costume is made correctly and given a pass, teams will be given their next clue. Clue #5 Teams must drive to Aeropuerto de La Habana Ciudad Libertad, where you will embark on a charter flight to Key West, Florida, back in the United States. Once in Key West, teams must go to the southernmost point in the continental United States for their next clue. Clue #6 Make your way to the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, where you’ll find your next clue. Clue #7 Roadblock: Who is a reader, a writer, and a decipherer? Ernest Hemingway, known for books like The Old Man and the Sea, had a notoriously bad handwriting, with little regards to punctuation or accuracy. One team member must copy one of Hemingway’s notes perfectly, letter for letter, on the provided typewriter. If it was typed perfectly, you will be handed a decoder key which you can use to find the hidden message, which will reveal the location of your final challenge. Answer: Smathers Beach Clue #8 Now that you’ve made it to Smathers Beach, you’ll partake in a final challenge. Out in between the marked buoys are bundles of letter tiles. You must dive down to retrieve them and bring them back up to shore. Figure out what you’re supposed to spell out with them, and once you think you have the answer, hang the tiles in order on your clothesline. If you have the correct answer, you’ll be given the final clue. Answer: United States, Japan, South Korea, India, Oman, South Africa, Lesotho, Greece, North Macedonia, Cuba, United States (teams must figure out that they have to spell out all of the countries they visited in order on the race) Clue #9 Congratulations! Make your way to the final pit-stop at Fort Zachary Cruise Pier! Go, go, go, the first team to reach the pit-stop will win 1 MILLION dollars! Pit-Stop, Leg 12 10 countries 4 continents over 27,000 miles first: 1 million dollars
A Cinematic Guide to The Weeknd: Pt 3. My Dear Melancholy and After Hours
My Dear Melancholy
Gaspar Noe/Cannes Film Festival The My Dear Melancholy era notable for being a time when The Weeknd was in proximity to a lot of serious directors. While he’s had a foot in Hollywood for awhile, 2017 through 2019 he was actively engaging with filmmakers like the Safdies Brothers, Gaspar Noe, and Claire Denis, amongst others. While he had been actively courting the Safdies since Good Time was released, he attended the 2018 Cannes Film Festival where he crossed paths Noe, whose film Climax took home a number awards at Cannes. Noe’s Enter the Void had previously served as an inspiration for Kiss Land, and for MDM (and later After Hours) seem to call back to Noe’s other films, like Irreversible and Love, which are both twisted depictions of heartbreak. On the other hand, Climax is about a French dance troupe who accidentally take LSD, and according to Noe is not a “message” movie. It is an audacious psychedelic technical exercise, with numerous long takes and highly choreographed set pieces. The idea for Noe, who had previously captured the feeling of drugs in previous films, was to do the opposite, and present the objectively reality of drugs, watching people high from a sober perspective. Noe is a rather strong advocate of film, and the opening scene of Climax features VHS boxes of a number of films that have influenced his filmmaking. Two of note are Schizophrenia, otherwise known as Angst, one of Noe’s favorite films which The Weeknd name checked to the Safdies, and Possession, which would go on to be an influence on After Hours (more on this later). He is also said to have sat next to Benicio Del Toro at Cannes, which means he likely caught some of the Un Certain Regard section, where Del Toro served as a jury member. Outside of that section, there were a few other films of interest such as The House That Jack Built from Lars Von Trier (The Weeknd has previously expressed affection for Von Trier’s Antichrist), Mandy from Pastos Costamos, and music video director Romain Gavras’s The World Is Yours, as well as a restoration of 2001: A Space Odyssey, which Noe has referred to as the film that got him into filmmaking. https://preview.redd.it/qga7a3l8ct261.png?width=910&format=png&auto=webp&s=371cf20d42ee8783cc23bfe7f2cfa16a0a927a0e Asian Cinema Later in 2018, The Weeknd continued his globetrotting with a tour of Asia. He once claimed in an interview that whenever visiting a foreign country he only watches films from there. I’ve previously written about the influence of Asian cinema on Kiss Land, and there’s not enough work from the MDM era to glean anything cinematically adjacent to this, but now would be a good time to mention that the "Call Out My Name" video was heavily inspired by the work of famed Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto. The Asian tour poster seems to be a reference to Ichi the Killer, which leads us to Takashi Miike. Though he is notoriously prolific across a number of genres, his most popular works internationally are genre melding blends of horror, comedy and crime, most notably Audition, Ichi the Killer and Gozu. Another film worth mentioning is Perfect Blue, Satoshi Kon’s masterwork about a pop star’s mysterious stalker that The Weeknd posted about on Instagram before. Bloody and haunting, the film was a major influence on Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream. In Interviews he has also mentioned a number of Korean films, such as The Wailing, I Saw the Devil and Oldboy. While Wong Kar Wai was previously mentioned as an influence on Beauty Behind the Madness, also worth mentioning is the work of John Woo, specifically A Better Tomorrow, well known for the shot of smoking a cigar off money, and Infernal Affairs, Andrew Lau’s crime classic which served has the basis for Scorsese’s The Departed. https://preview.redd.it/fx7o9s2bct261.png?width=642&format=png&auto=webp&s=0fec2f841e9d3b09104238d0f89595daa6140faa https://preview.redd.it/n4x7fiy9ct261.png?width=1316&format=png&auto=webp&s=8a9650263272518216fc5f36913e80a10d2b0a8e
Martin Scorsese While After Hours more so than any other Weeknd album is bursting at the seams with cinematic references, the influence of Martin Scorsese stands above all. Similar to The Weeknd’s body of work, many Scorsese’s are explorations of violence and masculinity, investigating them from a perspective that depending on who you ask (and how they’re feeling) glamorizes, condemns or just simply presents the reality of characters on the fringes of society. While there are direct references to a number of prominent Scorsese films, what’s interesting is that his influence also reverberates in other films/filmmakers that influence After Hours. Todd Phillips’s Joker is in effect an homage to Scorsese’s loner-centric New York films, and the Safdie Brothers have been putting their own millennial spin on the type of 70s gritty thriller that Scorsese trafficked in (Scorsese was also a producer on Uncut Gems). Specific Scorsese works will be discussed more in depth in the requisite sections, but it is worth mentioning upfront what a prominent role that Scorsese plays in the nucleus of After Hours. https://preview.redd.it/wcds9qpdct261.png?width=1196&format=png&auto=webp&s=246c560c72340782e26ad03b8ff63367999eaadd Urban HorroIsolation With After Hours, The Weeknd departs from the slicker sounds and influences that permeated Starboy and returns to the cinematic grittiness of Beauty Behind the Madness. While urban horror is a theme that permeates throughout The Weeknd as a project overall, there is a thorough line to be drawn here that follows a number of 70s and 80s cinematic and aesthetic references. For one thing, while the initial bandaged nose was a reference to Chinatown (previously, The Weeknd has a Kiss Land demo titled "Roman Polanski"), the full bandaged face that is so prominently featured throughout the After Hours era is a classic cinematic visual trope that was especially prominent throughout 60s and 80s, though it saw a slight re-emergence in the 2010s. The fully bandaged face is often used to remake someone in the image of another, usually against their will (The Skin I Live In, Eyes Without Face), or as a case of mistaken identity and doppelgängers (Good Night Mommy, Scalpel), themes present throughout much of After Hours. The "Too Late" video acknowledges these references, but instead presents the bandages on two Los Angeles models recovering from plastic surgery, in a nod to a famous Steven Meisel’s photoshoot for Vogue Italia. https://preview.redd.it/dtbxjc3ict261.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=66a98cc3cba73d502f8586a215a65cc41c5408a1 The “masks” people wear is another horror trope that is featured prominently on After Hours, and this is best seen in the red suit character. One important reference in the film is to Brian De Palma’s Dressed To Kill, where a serial killer is targeting the patients of a psychiatrist (any more on this film will veer towards spoiler territory). The Weeknd is on the record as saying Jim Carrey’s The Mask as being a large influence on the Red Suit character, it being one of the first film’s he watched in theaters. One of the more complex references would be to Joker. While it sort of an in-joke that the character of the Joker is commonly overanalyzed and misinterpreted, referencing Todd Phillips’s Joker is more nuanced because it is in essence a full on homage to Martin Scorsese’s New York films, most notably Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy, which focus on eccentric loners, and can both be seen as cautionary tale of urban isolation, a theme explored perhaps in songs like "Faith." The King of Comedy revolves around a would be obsessive stand up Rupert Pupkin haggling his way to perform on late night TV, with The Weeknd’s talk show appearances being a prominent part of the early After Hours marketing, most notably in the “short film”. This idea of isolated and compressed urbanites recurs throughout After Hours and it’s films. https://preview.redd.it/egap17ttdt261.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=1aab204ac0845a7df74ceeff6d1f714274f9ace0 The idea of urban repression is in the subway scene of the After Hours short film. The entire film itself is something of a reference to the subway scene to Possession (another Gaspar Noe favorite), mimicking the (also subway set) scene in which Isabelle Adjani’s Anna convulses on the subway due to a miscarriage, as well as Jacob’s Ladder, a 90s cult classic horror film starring Tim Robbins as a Vietnam vet (like Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle) who is experiencing demonic hallucinations, encountering them in the subway and later at a party he attends, splitting the scene into two. https://preview.redd.it/g53copgmct261.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=9d29e368ae695d295b36039e86125ccfd7b4eb88 Las Vegas As always, The Weeknd once again grounds After Hours with a strong sense of place, this time setting the album against a nocturnal odyssey through Las Vegas. One of the most prominent films is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Terry Gilliam’s adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s book. This is directly referenced in the "Heartless" video, which sees The Weeknd and Metro Boomin in the Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro roles as they tumble through a Las Vegas casino. The Weeknd has gone on the record to state that the famous red suit character was influenced by Sammy Davis Jr.’s character in the film Poor Devil. However, similar red suit has also been sported by a number of Vegas characters, most notably Richard Pryor and Robert De Niro’s Sam Rothstein in Martin Scorsese’s Casino. With the red suit, The Weeknd seems to be playing with the idea of a devil-ish other, another side of his personality that emerges in Las Vegas. https://preview.redd.it/gjow6hq2dt261.png?width=1992&format=png&auto=webp&s=10a379bc26df54af88064bf64813d5cdd29775d9 While the city lights are the oft discussed part of part of Las Vegas, it should be noted that similar to Beauty Behind the Madness, the desert that surrounds Las Vegas is just as important to the juxtaposition of its beauty. The "Until I Bleed Out" video ends/"Snowchild" video in the desert, similar to the confrontation between Robert De Niro’s and Joe Pesci’s showdown in the desert in Casino, as well as Joe Pesci's death in Goodfellas. The idea of a hedonistic desert playground also bears semblance to Westworld, both the film and the TV show. The desert seems to represent some sort of freedom to The Weeknd, as the "Snowchild" video portrays the desert as a pensive location for reflection, as well as the "In Your Eyes" video showing the girl prominently dancing with the dismembered head out in the open, in reference to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, another prominent desert film. https://preview.redd.it/98ec10wxct261.png?width=1168&format=png&auto=webp&s=45e29aa361fa41ff74e2a6017e203015bdcbc6c3 New York/The Safdies Despite it’s Las Vegas setting, After Hours also takes a good amount from films set in New York, most notably Martin Scorsese’s 1983 film After Hours. Besides the title, After Hours is similarly about a twisting and turning nighttime odyssey. The film stars Griffin Dunne as Paul, a working class stiff who heads downtown to rendezvous with a woman he met at a diner earlier that night. Of course, things don’t turn out the way they should, chaos ensues, and Paul is set on a dangerous trek back uptown. Like the film, the album After Hours is set off by a woman (though the album takes more stock in romantic endeavors), seems to be set over a single night (or at least a condensed period of time), and involves similar chaos and misadventures (sirens at night at the end of Faith). Tonally, After Hours the film is more comedic perhaps than After Hours the album, however The Weeknd is on the record as having said that "Heartless" and "Blinding Lights" placement on the album is intended to be somewhat comedic, reflecting exaggerated machismo and ecstasy, respectively (to comedic effect). https://preview.redd.it/f3w7yz4pdt261.png?width=1346&format=png&auto=webp&s=fe7e4f003987fd843020a42a5b53f94092984267 Another of the most prominent filmmakers of After Hours are the Safdies, who featured The Weeknd in Uncut Gems. They also served as a link to Oneohtrix Point Never, who scored their last two films and later worked After Hours. I believe there are three major film tropes (not genres) that inspired After Hours, all of which the Safdies’s have engaged with. There is the one-long-night films, in which a character spends one-long-night on the run from whatever chaos and forces may be that they left in their path. This can be seen in the Good Time, as well as After Hours (the movie). Then, there is the descent-into-madness type, where a character slowly loses grip with reality and ends up in over their head (something like Scarface or Breaking Bad, but for our purposes Jacob’s Ladder can be categorized here as well), which the Safdies did with Uncut Gems. Lastly, but maybe most importantly, the Safdies also explored toxic romance (more on this later) in their less seen film Heaven Knows What, about two heroin addicts and the destructiveness their love brings out in each other, an idea that recurs throughout After Hours on songs like "Until I Bleed Out" and "Nothing Compares." A recurring song throughout Heaven Knows What is Isao Tomita’s synth version of Debussy’s "Claire De Lune", which is featured in some episodes of Memento Mori and bears some resemblance to the start of "Alone Again". https://preview.redd.it/em255b5qdt261.png?width=1344&format=png&auto=webp&s=a5226c9496d0ae5c14b6d6c05e16f5ea18678a9a Obsession/Toxic Romance While love and lust and the ups and downs with it have been a formative part of The Weeknd’s ideology and themes, I don’t think it would be remiss to say that After Hours is perhaps his most outwardly romantic album. Despite this, one of the major arcs of the album is toxicity that comes with it, which a number of already mentioned films deal with. While "In Your Eyes" is one of the more romantic and accessible songs on the album, a re-assessment of it Ala Sting’s “Every Breathe You Take” could frame it as lonely obsessing, such as Travis Bickle’s infatuation with Jodie Foster’s teenage prostitute Iris, Joker's fixation on Murray Franklin, Rupert Pupkin’s obsession with Jerry Langford. Casino also deals with toxic romance, another prominent theme in After Hours, best seen in the love triangle that forms between Sam, his partner Nicky and his wife Ginger, played by Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone respectively. https://preview.redd.it/eq1ioijvdt261.png?width=898&format=png&auto=webp&s=f9e4b781ee60762ae767c4dbd92066357ebc24b0 In almost all of the After Hours’s video content, The Weeknd seems to constantly meet his demise at the hands of women. Another interesting reference that may be something of a reach is to Phantom Thread, Paul Thomas Anderson’s film about Reynolds Woodcock, a couture dressmaker loosely based on Cristobal Balenciaga and his muse Alma, played by Daniel Day Lewis and Vicky Krieps, respectively. The film delves into their dysfunctional relationship, with Woodcock berating her and Alma poisoning his tea to keep him dependent on her. One of the highpoint of the film is a New Years Eve Party that bears strong resemblance to the "Until I Bleed Out" video. While the balloons may just be a callback to his earlier work, there is something about the color grading/temperature and the production design of the "Until I Bleed Out" video (as well as parts of the "Blinding Lights" video) that made me immediately think of Phantom Thread. A similar relationship is seen in the German horror film Der Fan, which The Weeknd has mentioned in a recent interview. In Der Fan, a young girl Simone spends her days obsessing over popstar R, until she finally encounters him outside his studio. The film is similar to the aforementioned Takashi Miike’s Audition in its exploration of obsession and idealization. In the film, an older man puts up a fake casting call to search for the perfect girlfriend. While Audition explores these themes from an Eastern perspective of societal pressure, Der Fan explores it through a Western lens of pop idolization and idealization. Both films deal with the idea that despite outward appearances, the perfect partner does not exist, and anyone that claims to be (or has the expectations put on them) is not who they seem. https://preview.redd.it/3m661q62et261.png?width=1342&format=png&auto=webp&s=c9377018cb53f67cf7ce95b24392afb471e4aec1 One film he has spoken at length about is Trouble Everyday, Claire Denis’s arthouse vampire movie. The film stars Vincent Gallo as Shane, a scientist who travels to Paris under the guise of his honeymoon to track down core, a woman who he was once obsessed with who has now become a vampire. Core is locked up in a basement but sometimes sneaks out to seduce and consume unwilling victims. This seems to be where some of the bloody face stuff comes from, but I believe it’s influence is a little more conceptual. To me, a good companion film to Trouble Everyday is American Psycho, which seems to also have been a thematic influence on After Hours. Both films concern idealized version of masculinity and femininity, both very sexual and physical, but hostile as well. American Psycho ends with Patrick Bateman confessing to the killing of a prostitute, but no one believe him. Trouble Everyday ends with Shane killing Core, but Shane is unable to arouse himself after that except through violence. Koji Wakamatsu, a former Yakuza turned prominent extreme Japanese filmmaker (and a major influence on Gaspar Noe) is quoted as saying “For me, violence, the body and sex are an integral part of life.” Despite being hollow, idealized impressions of the self, a vampire and as a banker (cold, seductive bloodsuckers = monsters), Patrick Bateman and Core represent the Frankenstein-ian relationship between sexuality and violence, which I believe is the main theme of After Hours. Truly, we hurt the ones we love. https://preview.redd.it/zfllbd83et261.png?width=900&format=png&auto=webp&s=9c048ee98d86d7bbb9db67fa8302d34c36214c4f
To cap things off, I would just like to illuminate some key takeaways. As a filmmaker myself, this has been an extremely helpful exercise in understanding other artists process and ideas. Steeped in the history of the medium… It’s clear that The Weeknd is not your typical “I’m influenced by cinema” artist but an extremely legit film buff with serious credentials. The Weeknd’s film taste leans towards 70s-00s genre works, mostly horror, drama and thriller, and is well versed in the classics but also has the nose to sniff out deeper cuts and obscurities. The mantra of “good artists borrow, great artists steal” works even better if not many people know where you’re stealing from! What is impressive to me is that he is not just versed in “mainstream” obscurities, but also serious deep cuts. Films like Possession and Phantom of the Paradise may not stick out to the average person on the street but are well known in most film circles. Films like Inland Empire and New Rose Hotel (Der Fan was especially impressive to me, it is one of my favorite films) however are not as well known and it is very impressive to me that he can come across films like that, and really get enough out of it to bring into his own work. …is able to interpolate contemporary/mainstream films… This perhaps is one of the most impressive aspects of his integration of film into The Weeknd’s work. It is very easy for film buffs to get lost within their own obscure taste, living in a world where everyone is an idiot for not knowing who Shinya Tsukamoto. Trilogy and Kiss Land had a lot of contemporary obscurities, like Stalker, David Lynch etc., well known but they still existed as artifacts, not of the time we live in. However, perhaps picking something from his work on Fifty Shades of Grey, of late he has kept his finger on the zeitgeist and anticipated/integrated what the filmmakers of today are doing, such as his work on Black Panther and Game of Thrones, general appreciation of Tarantino, the works of Nicolas Winding Refn in Starboy, and his use of the Joker and Uncut Gems on After Hours, both of which came out just a few months before the album. It feels Jackson-esque, and I believe this is one thing that will help him further in his quest for pop stardom. …while also being fully in tune to the works of modern transgressive auteurs… In addition to keeping up with the mainstream is in touch with, The Weeknd also makes it a point to seek out and learn from the cutting edge filmmakers of today. While the Safdies were always going to blow up, I don’t doubt that a Weeknd co-sign accelerated their rise. Gaspar Noe is one thing, Enter the Void and Irreversible exist as masterpieces of the mainstream obscurities I’ve been mentioning, but he really truly tries to understand the heart of Noe’s work, even going so far back as to understand Noe’s influences (I sincerely hope he is tuned in to the work of Koji Wakamatsu). But most of all, to be a fan of Claire Denis is one thing, but to seek her out and make her an offer that she ACCEPTED is absolutely astounding to me. Just spitballing but it would be like if Michael Jackson shot a music video with Rainer Werner Fassbinder (who I’d bet good money that The Weeknd was put on to by Noe). We can only PRAY that one day we will be blessed with a David Lynch Weeknd video. --------------------------- …and that just about does it. Hope you enjoyed this and thanks for being patient with me. I got quite busy after the first two and had my own projects/work going that kept me occupied. As we’re still technically in the After Hours era, I also wanted to wait until a few more videos and interviews came out to aid me in my research. I also wanted to find enough time to make the Letterboxd for this. I personally don’t love Letterboxd culture, I find the popular culture surrounding the site a bit snobbish and exclusive, but I’ve gotten a number of requests for one and you gotta give the people what they want. Throughout the list are a few films that he hasn’t mentioned but are some of my personal favorites and I believe Weeknd fans will like, I encourage you to accidentally stumble upon things on it. Don't overthink, just pick something and watch! If you’d like to follow me further, you can find me on Instagram here, where I post about film reviews Letterboxd style. I prefer Instagram so that more average people see it instead of an echo chamber of film snobs. I am also a filmmaker myself, I just recently wrapped this short film and am currently in the process of putting together my next project. The main reason I did this however, besides a general appreciation of The Weeknd’s work, was to put more people on to the beautiful art form that is cinema. One thing I learned from Scorsese is that one must be an advocate and truly champion your medium. I hope that this encourages to check out more interesting movies than they wouldn’t normally come across, and I hope this will inspire more people to create more as well, whether it be to write, make films, music, anything. If even one person picks up a pencil, a camera or a keyboard because of these posts, I will be satisfied. Thanks all!
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